Give Blood, Save Lives
88% of blood donors are less likely to endure heart attack than non-donors
By Ma. Vanessa L. Estinozo
Donating blood is the one of the most heroic thing anyone can do. It can be donating blood to someone close to your heart or a complete stranger. It’s rewarding, fulfilling, and easy that it only takes 15 to 20 minutes of your time to save three to four patients.
“We don’t just need to give blood in the event of tragedies or emergencies. Instead, it should be a normal and routine part of our lives,” said Dr. Christie Monina M. Nalupta, Philippine Red Cross Director of Blood Services.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has 83 blood service facilitates across the country and each one collects from at least 50 donors a day. According to PRC, the most common blood type is Type O+ with about 44 to 46 percent of the total population.
A study published from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that blood donors are 88 percent less likely to endure heart attack than non-blood donors. Donating blood lowers the iron levels that reduce the risk of suffering from heart attacks.
Self-preparations for first-timers
Healthy 16-year olds can already start donating as much as 450 ml every three months.
Dr. Nalupta explained that each unit of blood gathered will be under examination to detect five transfusion-transmissible infectious diseases namely HIV, malaria, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C before it is transfused to patients.
Necessary charges are mandated by the Department of Health on costs associated with the collection, labeling, preparation of components, and storage of blood to ensure the quality of each blood donated.
Plus, blood donation gives you a quick physical check-up to ensure that you are in optimum health before you are allowed to donate. This includes examining your blood pressure with systolic of 90-130 mmHg and diastolic of 60-90 mmHg, heart rate, and physical well-being.
Make sure to have enough rest and some snooze of at least five to six hours a day before your donation, and refrain from alcoholic beverages and medications for 24 hours.
No recent travel abroad, allergy attack on the same day of donation, cough and colds, open wounds, tooth extractions, vaccinations (except for Hepatitis B vaccine), tattoo for the last six months. And of course, avoid fatty food and fill your iron levels by eating the right amount of healthy meals and staying hydrated.
After the blood transfusion, remember to take a five to 10-minute rest, avoid strenuous activities and using the punctured arm in lifting heavy things.
In case of bleeding, apply pressure on the punctured site and lift the arm. However, if discoloration or swelling occurs, apply cold compress for the first 24 hours then hot compress for the next 24 hours.
PRC also suggested lying down with your feet elevated and drink enough water when you start to get dizzy.
For maintenance, adequate and accessibility of safe and quality of blood supply, the demand for blood donors continuously increases each day.
“It is important that people are aware that there are no holidays in giving blood since the demand is all year-round,” she noted.
She also specified that the best time for women to donate blood would be a week prior to menstrual period.
“Human blood is vital life-saving measure gift only you can give,” Dr. Nalupta said.
So in this season of giving, would it be better to donate your old clothes or your blood and save lives? It’s your choice!