Health Benefits of Donating Blood and Eligibility Criteria for Donor

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Blood, the sustainer of human life, is a tissue made of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in a heterogeneous mixture with straw-yellow fluid called plasma. Blood is the liquid of life and is equally precious.

On average blood constitutes approximately 7-8% of an adult human’s weight. About 5ltr-6 liters of blood circulates through the body of an adult person. This nectar of life carries a wide range of functions in the human body including but not limited to the transportation of nutrients, hormones, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other waste products. It plays a vital role in the immunological function of the body along with the maintenance of homeostasis by regulating temperature, pH, etc.

According to a survey in India, every two seconds there is a requirement for blood transfusion. The nation faces an acute shortage of donated blood as only 2.5crore units of blood is available where the demand is that of a staggering 5 crore units of blood every year. Due to various medical conditions including road traffic accidents, medical procedures like surgery, diseases like thalassemia, labor (delivery), and other serious and life-threatening conditions, about 38,000 donations are required every day.

Benefits of blood donation

Benefits of blood donation

Blood donation not only helps the recipient but also has numerous advantages to the donor. The benefits of regular blood donation are multi-folded;

  • It improves the emotional and physical health of the donor.
  • Since every blood donated is screened, it acts as a major health screening and health checkup for the donor.
  • Donors can know the status of their HIV, Hepatitis B C, Malaria, syphilis along TTI pre-donation.
  • A Mini health check-up is known with the pulse, temperature, Haemoglobin, Blood pressure, etc
    Decrease the risk of cardiac diseases.
  • Improves liver health
  • Boosts immune system.
  • Decreases the risk of iron overload.
  • Lowered risk of cancer and replenishment of blood cells.

Eligibility criteria for blood donation

According to the guidelines by the National Blood transfusion council, National Aids control organization, and ministry of health and family welfare, the Govt of India released in October 2017, the following are the eligibility criteria for blood donation.

  1. Well-being – The donor has to be in good health, mentally alert, and physically fit.
  2. Age limit- Minimum age of 18 years to a maximum age of 65 years.
    For apheresis donation, it is 18-60 years. Apheresis donation- where only one of the blood components is donated through the process of cell separation for example plasma donation, platelet donation, etc.
  3. Volume of collected blood and weight of donor – 350mL for 45kg 450mL for more than 55kg. Apheresis donor – minimum 50kg
  4. Donation interval- Whole blood donation once in 3 months for males and once in 4 months for females.
    Apheresis: At least 48 hours after platelet/plasma -apheresis is to be kept. Maximum 24 donations can be accepted in one year with not more than 2 donations in a week.
  5. Blood pressure- 100-140mmhg systolic and 60-90mmhg diastolic with or without medications.
  6. Pulse – 60-100, Regular
  7. Temperature- Afebrile, 37° Celsius
  8.  Haemoglobin –  > or = 12.5g/dL
  9. Risk behavior- Donors must be free from any disease transmissible by blood.

Some other important points to be considered on blood donation.

  • The first-time donor cannot be over 60 years of age.
  • After whole blood donation, plateletpheresis donation cannot be accepted before 28 days.
  • An apheresis platelet donor cannot do whole blood donation before 28 days from past apheresis donation if reinfusion of RBCs was complete.
  • If RBC reinfusion was not complete, the donor cant be accepted within 90 days.
  • Donation is not accepted for 12 months after bone marrow harvest. In 6 months after a peripheral stem cell harvest, the donation is not accepted.
  • Findings suggestive of end-organ damage or secondary complication ( cardiac, renal, eye, or vascular) are to be excluded.
  • A person with a history of feeling giddiness, fainting during the examination, and history is not accepted for donation.
  • If the person is on medication for blood pressure the drug or dosage should not have been altered in the last 28 days.
  • The donor has to be free from acute respiratory disorders.
    Regular heavy alcohol intakers cannot be donors.
  • Aircrew members, long-distance vehicle drivers, workers above or below sea level, emergency service providers, strenuous workers can’t donate blood at least 24 hours prior to their next duty shift.
  • Night shift worker without adequate sleep cannot be a donor.
  • A person considered ‘at risk’ for HIV, hep B, or C infections is excluded determined by the medical officer
  • A person with a history of travel or residence from an endemic disease area that is transmittable by blood and for which screening is not mandated or there is no guidance in India can’t donate blood.
  • The donor has to be free from any skin diseases at the site of phlebotomy.
  • Blood donation is deferred till subsidization of all minor nonspecific symptoms like general malaise, pain, headache, etc.
  • Donors who have had an unexplained delayed faint or delayed faint with injury or two consecutive faints following blood donations cannot donate blood further.

The donation cannot be accepted from people with;

Asthmatic attacks, asthmatics on steroids, open heart surgery including bypass surgery, cancer surgery, active symptom of chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling of feet, myocardial infarction, on cardiac medications like digitalis/nitroglycerine, hypertensive heart disease, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, rheumatic heart disease with residual damage, epilepsy and convulsions, schizophrenia, insulin dependent diabetes, complications of diabetes with multi organ involvement, thyrotoxicosis due to graves disease, history of malignant thyroid tumors, hyper/hypo thyroid, other endocrine disorders, hepatitis B, C or unknown hepatitis, chronic liver disease or liver failure, known HIV positive person or partner/spouse of PLHA, lymphadenopathy, repeated/prolonged fever, repeated/prolonged diarrhoea, syphilis, gonorrhoea, leishmaniasis, leprosy, chronic infection of kidney/kidney disease/renal failure, stomach ulcer with symptoms or recurrent bleeding, SLE, scleroderma, dermatomyositis, ankylosing spondylitis or severe rheumatoid arthritis, polycythemia vera, unexplained bleeding tendency or bleeding disorders, malignancy, severe allergic disorders, haemoglobinopathies and red cell enzyme deficiencies with known history of haemolysis, patients on anti-arrhythmic, anticonvulsants, anti coagulant, anti thyroid, cytotoxic drugs, recipients of organ, stem cell and tissue transplants.

Blood donation is deferred for 12 months in case of; 

After recovery from major surgery, received a blood transfusion, known case of  Hepatitis A or E, close contact of individual suffering with hepatitis, at risk of hepatitis by tattoos, acupuncture, body piercing, scarification and any other invasive cosmetic procedure by self or spouse/partner, spouse/partner of individual receiving a blood transfusion, recovery from typhoid, GI endoscopy.

Blood donation is deferred for 6 months in case of;

Minor surgery, tooth extraction, dental surgery under anesthesia, dengue/chikungunya following recovery, pyelonephritis ( complete recovery and last dose of medication), dutasteride medication in BPH.

Blood donation is deferred for;

2 weeks following full recovery from measles, mumps, chickenpox.
3 months following full recovery from malaria.
4 weeks after return from a dengue-endemic area if no febrile illness.
4 months following recovery or history of travel to the Zika virus outbreak zone or West Nile virus endemic area.
2 years following confirmation of cure of TB.
2 years following cure and completion of treatment of osteomyelitis.
2 weeks after the last dose of medication for UTI/ acute cystitis.

For donors with anxiety and mood disorder, chronic sinusitis, migraine, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, or had vaccinations ( 28 days deferment), antirabies, hep B immunoglobulin, immunoglobulins (1-year deferment) only after medical considerations donation is accepted.

People on Medications like;

Aspirin, NSAIDs, ketoconazole, Anthelmintic drugs, antibiotics, ticlopidine, clopidogrel, piroxicam, dipyridamole, etretinate, acitretin, Isotretinoin, finasteride, radiocontrast material, oral anti-diabetic drugs can donate blood with a certain period of deferment.

Accepted medications for donors:

oral contraceptive, analgesics, vitamins, mild sedatives or tranquilizers, allopurinol, a cholesterol-lowering medication.

Special considerations for women donors.

Blood donation has to be deferred ;
12 months after delivery
6 months after abortion
During the total period of lactation
period of menstruation

With increased awareness in recent times about the need for blood donation, there is a lot of confusion and myths surrounding the topic. A lot of potential donors are unaware or misinformed. The correct information can make them a major reservoir of our healthcare system. So do your bit today and donate blood if you are a potential donor and save lives.

FAQ’s

Can differently-abled donate blood?
Yes, provided that clear and confidential communication can be established where the donor fully understands the donation process and gives valid consent.

Can a person with the thalassemia trait donate blood?
Thalassemia trait may be accepted if hemoglobin is acceptable.

Can people with tattoos donate blood?
Yes, after 12 months of getting a tattoo the person can donate blood.

Can people with diabetes mellitus donate blood?
Yes, only if it’s under control by diet or oral hypoglycemic medication with no history of orthostatic hypotension, no evidence of infection, neuropathy, or vascular disease. the medication or dosage shouldn’t have been altered in the last 4 weeks.

Can a person with benign thyroid disorder donate blood?
Yes.

I had jaundice, can I donate blood?
Yes, but with exceptions. One can donate blood only if jaundice was due to gallstones, Rh disease, mononucleosis, or neonatal period.

Who can or cannot donate blood?
Please refer to the eligibility criteria in the article.

What are Dos and Don’ts of blood donation?
Dos
The last meal should have been taken at least 4 hours before donation.
Take iron-rich and healthy food.
Take extra fluids and be well-rested with a good night’s sleep.
Wear comfortable clothes that can easily roll up above elbows.
Keep the bandage strip for the next several hours after donation.

Don’ts
Donors can’t be fasting before donation or observing fats during the period of blood donation.
The donor should not consume alcohol and have signs of intoxication before blood donation.
Avoid fatty food.
Don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.

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