Blood Donation

1 What is a Blood Donation?

Blood donation is a voluntary procedure. You can make an agreement to have your blood drawn in order to dive it to someone else in need of it.

There are millions of cases each year where an individual may be in need of a blood transfusion during surgery.

Other depend on it after an accident or because they have a disease that requires blood components.

There are several types of blood donation:

Whole blood. This is the most widely used form, during which approximately a pint of whole blood is donated. Then the blood is further separated into its components (red blood cells, platelets, plasma).

Platelets. This type of donation utilizes a process known as apheresis. During apheresis, a donor is hooked up to a machine that collects the platelets and some of the plasma, and then returns the rest of the blood to the donor.

Plasma. PThe plasma may be collected simultaneously with a platelet donation, it can also be done separately during an apheresis donation.

Double red cells. Double red cell donation is also done using apheresis. In this case, only the red cells are collected.

2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for a blood donation is that can help many individuals who are in need of blood due to various circumstances which result in the loss of blood.

This can include surgery. Accidents. Other medical conditions like anaemia

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3 Potential Risks

Generally, there are no potential risks in blood donation. New, sterilized equipment is used for each donor in order to avoid the risk of a bloodborne disease.

If you are a rather healthy adult, the can donate about 500 millilitres of your blood without endangering your health.

Within a period of 24 hours of a blood donation, your body replaces the lost fluids. And after several weeks, your body replaces the lost red blood cells.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

To prepare for blood donation, you must be qualified in the following areas: Good health. At least 17 years old. At least 110 pounds.

Able to pass the physical and health history assessments. The eligibility requirements are a little  different for double red cell donation.

Check with your local donor center for specifics. Get plenty of sleep the night before your procedure. Eat a healthy meal before your donation, especially avoiding fat foods.

Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fats that make an appearance in your blood several hours after eater fatty foods.

Drink a lot of water and other fluids before the procedure. If you are a platelet donor, remember to stay away from aspirin for two days prior to donating your blood.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your blood donation procedure.

Before you can donate blood, you will be asked to fill out a confidential medical history that includes direct questions about behaviors known to carry a higher risk of bloodborne infections — infections that are transmitted through the blood.

All of the information from this evaluation is kept strictly confidential. Because of the risk of bloodborne infections, not everyone can donate blood.

The following high-risk groups are not eligible to donate blood:

  • Anyone who has ever used injection drugs not prescribed by a physician, such as illegal injection drugs or steroids not prescribed by a physician
  • Men who have had sexual contact with other men since 1977
  • Anyone who has ever received clotting factor concentrates
  • Anyone with a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus)
  • Men and women who have engaged in sex for money or drugs
  • Anyone who has had hepatitis after his or her 11th birthday
  • Anyone who has had babesiosis or Chagas' disease
  • Anyone who has taken etretinate (Tegison) for psoriasis
  • Anyone who has risk factors for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or who has a blood relative with CJD
  • Anyone who spent three months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980 through 1996
  • Anyone who received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom or France from 1980 to the present
  • Anyone who has spent five years in Europe from 1980 to the present

You will also have a brief physical examination, which includes checking your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. A small sample of blood is taken from a finger prick and is used to check the oxygen-carrying component of your blood (hemoglobin level).

If your hemoglobin concentration is normal and you've met all the other screening requirements, you can donate blood. During the procedure, You lie or sit in a reclining chair with your arm extended on an armrest.

A blood pressure cuff or tourniquet is placed around your upper arm to fill your veins with more blood. This makes the veins easier to see and easier to insert the needle into, and also helps fill the blood bag more quickly.

Then the skin on the inside of your elbow is cleaned. A new, sterile needle is inserted into a vein in your arm. This needle is attached to a thin, plastic tube and a blood bag.

Once the needle is in place, you tighten your fist several times to help the blood flow from the vein. Blood initially is collected into tubes for testing.

When these have been collected, blood is allowed to fill the bag, about a pint. The needle is usually in place about 10 minutes. When complete, the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed on the needle site and a dressing is wrapped around your arm.

Another method of donating blood is becoming increasingly common and is known as apheresis. During apheresis, blood is drawn from one arm and pumped through a machine that separates out a specific component, such as platelets.

The rest of the blood is then returned through a vein in your other arm. This process allows more of a single component to be collected. However, it takes longer than standard blood donation — typically one to two hours.

After the procedure After donating you sit in an observation area, where you rest and eat a light snack. After 15 minutes, you can leave.

After your blood donation:

  • Drink extra fluids for the next day or two.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for the next five hours.
  • If you feel lightheaded, lie down with your feet up until the feeling passes.
  • Keep the bandage on your arm for at least four to five hours.
  • If you have to bleed after removing the bandage, put pressure on the site and raise your arm for three to five minutes.
  • If bleeding or bruising occurs under the skin, apply a cold pack to the area periodically during the first 24 hours.
  • If your arm is sore, take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen.
  • Avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others).

Contact the blood donor center or your doctor if you forgot to report any important health information before you donated or if you had any problems or needed medical care after giving blood.

You should also call the center if you:

  • Continue to feel nauseated lightheaded or dizzy after resting, eating and drinking.
  • Notice a raised bump, continued bleeding or pain at the needle-stick site when you remove the bandage.
  • Feel pain or tingling down your arm, into your fingers.
  • Become ill with signs and symptoms of a cold or flu, such as fever, headache or a sore throat, within four days after your blood donation.

Bacterial infections can be transmitted by your blood to another person via transfusion, so it's important to let the blood donor center know if you become ill so that your blood won't be used.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your blood donation results, consult with your doctor.

Your blood will be tested to determine your blood type, which is classified as A,B,AB and O and you rhesus factor.

The Rh factors refer to the presence or absence of a specific antigen, a substance with the ability to stimulate the immune system.

Everybody is either Rh positive or Rh negative, meaning the antigen is carried or it is not. This information is vital because your blood type and rhesus factor must be compatible with the recipient's blood.

Your blood will also be tested for bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, and syphilis. If all these tests are negative, the blood will be distributed to hospitals and clinics.

If any of these tests are positive, the blood bank notifies you and your blood is discarded and not used.

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