The positives of blood donation

The positives of blood donation

You don't have to be a hero to save lives: Donate blood and be a superhero, writes Dr Shalini Joshi


Millions of people need blood transfusions every year. Some may need blood during surgery, whereas others are dependent on it post an accident or due to a disease that requires blood components. Blood donation makes all of this possible.

Blood is first tested to determine its type, namely A, B, AB or O — and also the Rh factor. The Rh factor refers to the presence or absence of a specific antigen which is a substance that is capable of stimulating an immune response in the blood. You’ll be classified as Rh positive or Rh negative, meaning you do or don’t carry the antigen.

It is an important information because the blood type and Rh factor must be compatible with the blood type and Rh factor of the recipient.

Blood donation is safe. A new, sterile disposable equipment is used for each donor, so there is no risk of contracting a blood-borne infection during the process.

A healthy adult can usually donate a pint of blood and within 24 hours of a blood donation, the body replaces the lost fluids.

After several weeks, the body replaces the lost red blood cells. If you are thinking about donating blood at your nearby blood donation camp, make sure you get yourself screened for the same:

Get plenty of sleep the night before you plan to donate.

Eat a healthy meal before donation.

Avoid fatty foods such as hamburgers, french fries or ice cream before donating.

Drink an extra two glasses of water and other fluids before donation.

Platelet donors are advised not to take aspirin for two days prior to the donation.

(The author is consultant, internal medicine, Fortis Hospital)