A two-minute Guide to Donating Blood

Donating Blood

Due to COVID-19, many community blood drives are closing, which means the metropolis will soon be short of Blood; this can be settled if we donate more and more Blood.

Due to stay-at-home orders, no industry or sector is immune from COVID-19, and some consequences are more harmful than others. In March, due to continuous virus lockdowns, thousands of Pakistani children were risk as all the blood banks dried out. 

If you don’t know, in Pakistan, nearly 100,000 children, including 25,000 in Sindh, 18,000 in Balochistan, and others are in the rest of the country whose lives depend on regular blood transfusion. 

Generally, the necessary blood supply of 150,000 units of Blood every month is managed by N.G.O.s and community organizations who set up blood donation camps in colleges, universities, factories, community centers, and corporate offices that are almost closed due to the COVID-19. 

Dr. Ansari informed, “Even in normal days, the banks operate at 50 percent capacity.”

To cope with the situation, blood banks have initiated a routine door-to-door campaign, sending teams on donors’ call; Muhammad Akbar, Manager at Omair Sana Foundation, informed, “Out of 400 children, 10 to 15 receive a blood transfusion every day, but now we are compelled to send many of them back due to the situation. He also shared that due to more recipients and fewer donors, they cannot maintain the desired bloodstock. 

No just the lockdowns, the fear of coronavirus has also deterred people from donating blood. Abdul Munim Khan, the Chief Administrator of Thalassemia Society of Pakistan, told a news channel, “Most people believe their immunity levels will drop by donating blood, making them more vulnerable to the virus.” 

Not only in Pakistan, even American Red Cross, and the U.S. U.S. Food and Drug Administration also voiced the same concern for the decreasing blood supply due to COVID-19: “We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” Peter Marks, director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, also highlighted the need for blood donations, “You can still go out and give Blood. We’re worried about blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement”.

Luckily, there are still ways to donate Blood during the pandemic; Richard Seidman, MD, L.A.L.A. Care’s chief medical officer, tells, “Blood donation is always important to help save lives—the need does not go away during a pandemic.” 

Here’s what you need to know about donating Blood – like who can donate, how to remain safe while donating, and where you can give back, as the world is still trapped with COVID-19.

Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 before donating Blood?

Dr. Sanford says, there’s no requirement to be tested for COVID-19 if you want to donate Blood; however, the only question you will be asked in screening tests that if you are well or not, and if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last week. 

If you found unwell – like have an elevated temperature – or have been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient, you wouldn’t be allowed to donate Blood. 

What about the risks of donating Blood during the pandemic? 

As such, there are no risks of contracting the virus as blood collection agencies are already taken enough steps to protect both donors and employees during the donation process. Dr. Sanford says, “All employees involved in blood collection should conduct self-monitoring of their temperatures daily, and keep a safe 6-foot distance between donors to ensure social distancing. Even some agencies also require employees and donors to wear marks during the process since it requires close contact.”

Dr. Seidman says, “In addition to their normal use of gloves and wiping down areas touched by donors; all equipment should underwent enhanced disinfecting. The blood drive should be held in a large conference room, and only five donors should be allowed in at any given time, ensuring plenty of space to accommodate the six-foot guidelines. Staff also checked everyone’s temperature to donate to protect against any possibility that someone might be infected and pass the virus on to others.” 

Do I need to know my blood type to donate Blood? 

Nope. If you don’t know your blood type, you will get to know if you donate blood in any reputable agency. 

How old do I have to be to donate Blood? 

You are allowed to donate Blood if you are healthy, and in your late twenties, the lower age limit to donate Blood is 17, even 16 is also acceptable; they say, there’s no hard and fast upper age limit for blood donation if you are healthy “with no restrictions or limitations to your activities.”

Can I donate Blood with a cold? 

Frankly speaking, only healthy people are supposed to donate Blood, especially when having a cold is one of the apparent signs of COVID-19; in normal circumstances, a person is allowed to donate Blood 24 hours after cold symptoms have passed. Add to that, if you have a fever or a cough, especially the one that brings up phlegm, you should avoid donating Blood.

Is weigh count of donating Blood? 

If you wish to save others by donating your Blood, you must weigh at least 110 pounds. 

Can pregnant or breastfeeding mothers donate Blood? 

Expectant moms, we are sorry, you guys cannot donate Blood during pregnancy, was your future child’s health is dependent on your; these women need to wait until six weeks postpartum. Don’t be hurry; once you become a healthy mom; you can donate Blood as much as you want. 

How often can I donate Blood? 

Interestingly, you can donate your whole Blood every 56 days, though platelet donations can easily take place every week, but not more than 24 times a year.

Can I donate Blood if I take medication? 

Yes, you can; taking medication isn’t a barrier to blood donation, as long as you are healthy and the ailment you’re taking the drug for is under control. However, there are exceptions too, like, you cannot donate Blood if taking a “blood thinner” medication. If you are taking antibiotics for the throat, sinus, or lung infection, wait until the treatment is completed. 

Can I donate Blood with diabetes?

Yes, only if your blood glucose levels are under control, and have no active complications, like blood vessels, eye, or kidney problems. However, patients that have used bovine-derived insulin in the past are not eligible for donating Blood.


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