The Rewards of Blood Donation


A steady supply of blood in hospitals is very important because emergencies like vehicular accidents, miscarriage, and others regularly happen. These emergencies require the immediate transfusion of blood. The widespread prevalence of some seasonal and blood-related diseases like dengue also entails large amounts of blood to be available. In addition, medical conditions that require blood transfusion include cancer and iron deficiency among pregnant women and preschool-age children.

Although there are blood banks where blood can be bought and sold, hospital and civic organizations like the Red Cross collect, freeze and put in cold storage the blood donated by volunteers. This will ensure a steady supply of blood.

According to doctors, they prefer voluntary donors over professional donors. This is because voluntary donors give blood in order to help people. It is a matter of compassion and civic duty. Paid donors on the other hand donate blood for money and thus may not always give truthful personal information.

The screening for donors is very strict. A donor must be 18 to 65 years old, weighing at least 110 pounds. Donors below 18 need the consent of their parents. Also, potential donors must have a pulse rate of 40 to 100 beats per minute and a body temperature not exceeding 37° C. Donors must also have a blood pressure of 90 to 160 mm Hg (systolic)/ 60 to 100 mm Hg (diastolic).

After passing the initial screening, a donor will be asked to fill up a registration form. A sample blood will be taken and tested for sexually transmitted infections, malarial parasites, blood type and hemoglobin level. The whole process will take 30 minutes. A donor can give 300 mL to 450 mL of blood.

Before donating your blood, follow these precautions:

Do not drink any alcohol for about 24 hours prior to donating blood.
Get adequate rest and sleep.
Don’t eat a heavy meal.
Drink lots of water and fruit juices.

And after the blood donation, these are the steps to take:

Drink lots of water and fruit juices.
Do not stoop right after donating blood.
Don’t eat a heavy meal.
If the arm is bleeding, elevate it and apply pressure to the puncture site.
If you notice a swelling or discoloration on the puncture site, apply cold compress for the first 24 hours and follow with a hot compress for the next 24 hours.
Avoid physically taxing activities.
If you feel dizzy, lie down and elevate your feet and get enough fluid intake.

Blood donation not only helps other people, but has health benefits for the donor as well. It stimulates the production of new blood cells. It lets you know your blood type and hemoglobin level for free. Also, it provides the donor with a regular screening for various blood-borne infectious diseases.