How often an you donate blood

How Often Can You Donate Blood: A Concise Guide

Have you ever thought to donate blood?

Helping others is a noble deed. Someone once said that “we rise by lifting others” which is indeed true. When we help others then we definitely feel good and happy.

For example when you go out for a walk and suddenly find a hungry dog and feed him with biscuits, seeing him enjoy the food will definitely make you happy. Similarly, helping a poor kid by feeding him or giving him clothes or money will make you happy.

When you help others it gives you a positive feel. The feeling of making someone happy because of you is so magical that it can elevate your mood. It also makes you a little more responsible towards society and helps you in doing your part to make a change in the world.

There are numerous ways in which we can help others. There is no certain defined way in which we can help others. All we need is our willingness to help others.

For example, we can help others by doing charity by donating our old stuff which we no more need.

Teaching others or giving monetary help to the needy can also be helpful. We can help people in uncountable ways. One such way is blood donation. Blood donation is a gentle deed. Just imagine what bliss it is to save someone’s life by giving blood.

A. Why blood donation?

Blood donation is a unique way to help people who need blood to save life of their near and dear ones. Donating blood has no side effects rather it makes you capable to save lives.

Doctors have also suggested donating blood as it helps in maintaining good health. You should also consult your doctor to know how often can you donate blood.

Any person who is above the age of 16 is eligible to donate blood. The upper age limit is generally kept between 62-65 years.

Actively donating blood also increases blood cell production in the body. It also helps in keeping the immune system active. Donating blood is also good for the heart and reduces heart-related issues.

B. Process of Blood Donation

Blood donation can be done in any blood centre. Blood donation camps are also set up in colleges, schools, offices or localities to encourage youth to donate blood. These camps are initiated by various blood banks and hospitals to help people in need. However, you should know many things before blood donation including how often can you donate blood.

The whole blood donation process can be broadly divided into 3 steps:

1) Pre-donation process

This process involves all the steps that are involved before the blood donation process is initiated.

1) Registration: This is the very first step before the beginning of any blood donor program. This is done to ensure that the donors can safely donate blood. By registering in the camp it means that they have given their consent to give blood.

Children below the age of 18 need to submit the signed parental consent form to be eligible to give blood in the blood donor program.

2) Medical checkup: This is the next step after registration. In this, the medical history of the donor is checked so as to assess the risk factors regarding the blood donation. In the diagnostic test, the health conditions of the donor are analyzed.

This step is used to identify healthy donors for blood donation. In this stage, the blood pressure, haemoglobin level, iron level, pulse rate, and weight of the donor are checked.

To donate blood you should be healthy.

2) Blood donation stage

Once the registration and medical checkup of the blood donor is done the donation process begins.

donate blood
By Rovin// Pixabay// copyright 2022

Blood donation is also of many types:

i) Whole blood donations: These are the simplest types of blood donation. This blood can either be used as a whole or the components can be further separated if needed in form of plasma, white blood cells or red blood cells.

This blood can be used for accident patients who have lost blood, or patients who have lost blood during a surgical procedure.

You should also know how often can you donate blood and the minimum time gap between two transfusions.

ii) Red blood cells donation: Red blood cells donation is termed as double red cell donation and is beneficial to people who suffer from sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is caused due to genetic disorders.

In such a type of blood donation, the plasma and platelet of the person are returned back to the blood donor. It takes 10 minutes to donate whole blood.

People with blood groups A negative, B negative and O are eligible to donate red blood cells instead of whole blood. These types of blood donations make you feel less fragile as only a component of the blood is taken. It takes at least 90 days for a body to replace the lost blood cells. Therefore you should once consult a doctor that how often can you donate blood for safety concerns.

iii) Platelet donations: Similar to red blood donations, in platelet donations the platelets are extracted from the blood of the donor and the rest parts of the blood is transferred back to the body.

Platelet donation is required on a frequent basis as the platelets are to be used within 5 days. Platelets are required by cancer and dengue patients. Generally, one platelet donation requires a minimum of 2 hours.

iv) Plasma donations: Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood which is very effective in the treatment of various diseases. Recently plasma therapy was used for the treatment of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19.

In plasma therapy, the plasma of the recovered patients is extracted and used to treat the other patients who haven’t recovered. It is also helpful for patients suffering from liver diseases.

People who have blood type AB are considered to be the universal donors just like O-type blood donors are the universal donors.

3) Post-blood donation phase

This phase consists of taking care of the health conditions of the blood donor who has donated blood. When a person donates blood it takes time to replace the donated blood cells. Hence you should be aware of the fact of how often can you donate blood and take an adequate diet to recover the lost blood cells.

Following are a few precautions that should be taken after blood donation :

1) Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This helps in maintaining blood pressure and prevents chances of dehydration after blood donation.

donate blood
By Mauricio Mascaro// Pexels// Copyright 2022

2) One should avoid doing heavy workouts immediately after donating blood. Workouts and exercises shall be resumed after taking a break for some days. Working out just after blood donation can increase blood pressure.

3) Eating a healthy diet and a lot of fruits. One should consume food rich in Vitamin C and iron.

4) Avoid consuming alcohol for the next 24 hours.

5) Take enough rest if you feel giddy after donating blood.

If you are not feeling well then you should not donate blood and postpone the appointment to some other day. Remember, you shouldn’t risk your own health as first priority should be your own health only.

C. Myths regarding blood donation

For every good cause in the world, there are a lot of myths spread so as to stop people from doing good deeds. The same is the case for blood donation. Many people spread various rumours regarding blood donation.

A few of them are:

1) Donating blood can make you weak or ill:

This might be the first thing that you will hear when you will discuss blood donation. People generally have a misconception that donating blood makes them sick.

Thus it is suggested that you shouldn’t believe such rumours as they are fake and are meant to spread fear amongst the blood donors.

It is obvious that the blood donor feels weak for some time after the blood donation process but that isn’t long-lasting. The weakness will go after a few hours.

There is a minimum set time gap between two blood donation programs. It is advised to consult your doctor that how often can you donate blood to be on the safe side.

You can drink juice or follow a healthy diet to feel better.

2) Blood donation is a painful process:

This is another myth associated with blood donation. The blood is collected from the body using a sterile needles. Many people are afraid to donate blood because they fear that it is a painful process.

But just like weakness this also is for a short tenure and ends after some time, so you need not to be afraid of this.

3) It is a very long and complicated process:

Many people think that donating blood requires a lot of paperwork and is a complicated process.

This isn’t true blood donation is a very simple process. You can donate blood in a camp near your house or in the blood banks which are in the hospital. You can have an donation appointment done in the nearby camp or the blood banks. You should also consult that how often can you donate blood.

The medical checkups are also done to make sure that you are eligible to donate blood.

D. Who can’t donate blood?

Although blood donation is a good practice, but still you can only donate blood after under going the positive diagnostic test. These tests are used to identify the healthy donors.

As per WHO, the following are a few cases in which people can’t donate blood:

1) People who had gone blood transfusions within the time period of 3 months.

2) Pregnant women also can’t donate blood.

3) People suffering from hepatitis B are not eligible to donate blood.

4) People who have tattoos can also not donate blood for a certain period of time. There is a waiting period of 6 months in this case.

5) Before donating blood the hemoglobin level of the blood donor is also checked. If it is found to be below the permissible value the person is not eligible to donate blood.

6) Likewise the haemoglobin level and the blood pressure of the donors are also checked before they give blood.

7) People found showing any sort of flu symptoms or of infectious diseases can also not donate blood.

8) People consuming blood thinners cannot give blood for some time.

E. How often can you donate blood?

When a person donates blood, he becomes capable of saving lives. Many people donate blood on a regular basis which is a very good practice but it is important is to know how often can you donate blood.

Blood donation makes a person a little weak and lethargic for some days. So you can’t donate blood every now and then. There is a certain set time interval after which the person becomes eligible to donate blood after the previous blood transfusion. Thus you need to keep a check on how often can you donate blood.

This gap is kept so that the health of the blood donor is recovered.

The frequency of blood donation also depends on the type of blood donation you are doing i.e. you are donating whole blood or donating the blood components.

On average, whole blood donors can donate blood 4-6 times in a year depending on the health conditions of the donor. For whole blood donation there is a waiting period of at least 8 weeks. You need to wait for at least 3 months before the next transfusion.

This time period is there so as to ensure donor safety. Within this time period the body of the donor regains its strength and replenishes its lost blood cells.

The red blood cell donation is done once in 112 days i.e. approximately once every 4 months. In power red donation 2 units of red blood cells are extracted.

Platelet donation is done in a lesser time interval as compared to the whole blood donation. You can donate platelets after 7 days. But the maximum limit of donating platelets is limited to 24 times in a year.

donate blood
By Big Heart// Pixabay// copyright 2022

Plasma donation can be done once in every 15 days but the American Red Cross has suggested keeping a gap of at least 28 days between the donations. They have suggested to keep this minimum gap as frequent plasma donation reduces the quality of the plasma.

Plasma donation became very popular during the Covid times. Plasma donation can only be done by the person who had tested positive for the same disease for which he/she is donating plasma.

Plasma donation can cause dehydration in the donor as plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. To avoid the chances of dehydration one should drink plenty of water before and after the plasma donation.

Conclusion

Helping others is a golden effort which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone is willing to help others as they find it useless to put extra efforts to make others happy.

Helping others make us also happy in return. It brings positivity to our life. We can help others by donating blood also. The human body contains 4-6 litre of blood and it is capable of producing blood after donation so there is no risk of life if you donate blood. According to the American Red Cross by donating 1 unit of blood you can save up to 3 lives.

Blood donations are harmless in nature. But there are certain precautions that should to be taken before and after blood donation for the safety of the donor. You should know how often can you donate blood. Apart from that, you should also know how often can you go for plasma donation, platelet donation etc. as well.

There are a lot of questions that can come in a person’s mind before donating blood, therefore, it is advised to clear all such doubts before you make a blood donation appointment to be on the safe side.

You can either opt for whole blood transfusions or you can donate blood components separately also. To initiate successful blood donations various blood drives are organized by hospitals and blood centres. Blood donation is not a lengthy process.

If you could save someone’s precious life by doing such small efforts then it is really a golden opportunity. People with rare blood types should definitely donate blood if they are eligible so as to help the needy and to save their lives.

Someone has quoted that a single drop of blood can make a huge difference which is actually true. Each year a lot of people die due to blood loss, if you could save a few of them then it is a very good thing.  Thus if you are capable to save lives then you shouldn’t wait and instead contribute towards making a significant change in the world.

 

Yashika Mahajan
She likes to write articles and poems. A few of her poems have been published in various books.