Blood Donation during the COVID-19 pandemic
At a Glance:
There is no man-made substitute for blood produced in the human body. Donating blood is a simple and selfless act which helps save lives eventually. When an individual decides to donate one unit of their blood, it helps save 3 lives approximately. The entire process takes about 10-15 minutes, but before donating blood, one must understand all the relevant facts pertaining to blood donation.
COVID-19 Safety precautions and protocols for Blood Donors
At Yashoda Hospitals, patient and staff safety will remain paramount at all times. Right from the entry point till the exit, we ensure safety protocols and follow precautionary measures and provide access to safe and quality healthcare. We follow;
- Thermal screening and hand sanitisation at entrances
- Social distancing blocks inside Blood bank and all patient areas
- Mask, shield, and gloves for doctors, technicians and all staff
- Disinfection protocols for high touch points and surfaces
- Sterilisation protocols for equipments before and after use
- Strict hand rub regime
What is the process of Blood Donation?
Any healthy adult between the age of 18 to 65 years of age can donate blood. Knowing what to expect before, during, and after Blood donation can help prepare for the process:
- Donation centre: An individual can walk into a reputed and safe blood donation centre or a mobile camp organised by a reputed organisation or a hospital.
- Filling patient information forms: Usually the donor is asked to fill out some forms and answer general questions related to medical and donation history.
- Medical screening: The donor will be asked to undergo a physical check to determine his temperature, blood pressure, pulse and haemoglobin content in blood to ensure that the donor is healthy.
- Test approval: Once the donor is found to be healthy and fulfill donor criterias, the donor will be asked to lie down on a resting chair or a bed and the arm will be thoroughly cleaned.
- Blood collection procedure: With the use of sterile equipments, approximately 350 ml of blood will be collected in a special plastic bag. Individuals weighing more than 55 Kgs can donate 450ml of blood.
- Relax after the blood donation: After the donation of blood, the individual must relax for a few minutes and consume a refreshing drink or light snack.
- Donation interval:The minimum time advised between two donations is 3 months for males and 4 months for females. This time gap allows blood to regain the normal hemoglobin count.
- Blood processing: The donated blood will then be separated into blood components (RBC, Platelets and Plasma) within eight hours of donation and simultaneously will be tested for Transfusion transmitted infections (HIV, HBV, HCV, Malaria and Syphilis).
- Storage: Once found safe, it will be kept in special storage and released for patients as and when required.
Who cannot donate blood?
The below mentioned category of people must avoid donating blood:
- Pregnant or lactating women or those who have recently had an abortion.
- Systemic Diseases: Individuals suffering from systemic diseases like Blood disorders, Heart, Kidney, Liver, Thyroid, Asthma, Cancer, Diabetes, uncontrolled high Blood Pressure.
- On medication: Individuals who are on steroids, hormonal supplements or certain specific medication.
- Individuals having multiple sexual partners
- Drug Addicts must not donate blood.
- Individuals who have undergone surgery in the past 6 months for minor procedure and 1 year for major surgery.
- Alcohol consumption: Individuals who have consumed alcohol in the 24 hours prior to donation.
- Menstruating women should avoid donation during their menstruation period.
- Individuals suffering from infections transmitted through transfusions like HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis, etc, should not donate blood.
- Those who have undergone various vaccinations should avoid donation for the corresponding period:
What precautions should be taken before donating Blood?
Before donating, the donor must do the following;
- Take good rest/sleep
- Drink sufficient amount of fluids
- Have a healthy meal prior to the appointment.
What precautions should be taken by the donor after Blood donation?
- Drink lots of fluids for the next 24 hours.
- Avoid smoking for 4 hours and drinking alcohol for the next 24 hours.
- Don’t use an elevator to go up immediately after donation since blood will rush to the feet and make one feel dizzy.
- Avoid strenuous exercises and activities for the day.
- If the donor feels dizzy, it is best to lie down with their feet up until the feeling passes.
- Can remove the band-aid after 4 hours.
- If there is bleeding after removing the bandage, put pressure on the site (prick area) and raise the arm until the bleeding stops.
What are the health benefits of donating blood?
Blood donation not only contributes significantly to a recipient’s life, but also helps the donor to maintain good health. Health benefits to the donor of blood donation are:
- A regular health check up is automatically done and free of cost, This allows the donors to be warned of any underlying medical condition or risk factors for certain diseases.
- Boosts the production of red blood cells and replenishes blood.
- Regular blood donation (2-3 times in a year) helps lower cholesterol and decreases incidence of heart attacks.
- Helps boost Heart & Liver health.
- Lowers risk of cancer.
- Balances iron level in the blood.
- Provides a sense of belonging and makes the donor feel psychologically rejuvenated.
Every year, several people battle for their lives due to lack of blood or having a rare blood type for treating diseases and conditions. Some require blood during surgery and others may need it after an accident or because they have a disease that requires blood components. Every blood donor continues to be both a life saviour and a life changer.
- Blood donation: Simple, selfless act of kindness, Mayoclinic, https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/blood-donation-simple-selfless-act-to-save-lives. Accessed on 11th June, 2020.
- Blood donation, Mayoclinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blood-donation/about/pac-20385144. Accessed on 11th June, 2020.
- Benefits of donating blood, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-donating-blood#benefits. Accessed on 11th June.
- Donating Blood: What to expect when you give blood, WebMd, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-to-expect-when-you-give-blood. Accessed on 11th June.
About Author –
By Dr. Neha Hurkat- MBBS, MD
Consultant Transfusion Medicine, Yashoda Hospitals Secunderabad