Whether we have lost a huge amount of blood, or at a great risk of losing it, we would need blood transfusion. Situations like accidents, operations/transplants, and bleeding disorders may require different blood components depending on individual’s need. Also, if we just want to help save the life of an immediate family member, a friend, or a mere stranger, we might consider donating our own blood.
However, I should inform you that not everyone is eligible to donate blood. There are certain requirements for blood donation. Donors must be in good health, be at least 17 years of age, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Temperature must not exceed 99.5 F, and blood pressure must be between 110/60 to 160/90. If you haven’t met any of the above requirements, you won’t be allowed to donate blood.
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In addition, there are particular types of people who should not donate blood, temporarily or permanently. Screening is critical to avoid compromising the health of the donor or the recipient. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Those who contracted malaria in the past or have traveled to malaria endemic places during the last three years are not allowed to donate. The same applies for people who have spent at least three months in Western Europe and United Kingdom from 1980 to 1996 because of the prevalence of mad cow disease.
For the safety of both the mother and child, pregnant and breastfeeding women are temporarily deferred from donating blood. Women who had an abortion in the last six weeks and people who had a recent surgery are temporarily ineligible. This would give them time to recover from the severe blood loss.
To prevent the recipient from developing septicemia, those who had dental work or an active infection are advised to wait a few days. Other reasons for temporary deferral are low hemoglobin count, recent piercing/tattoos, heart attack in the last six to twelve months, vaccinations, and antibiotic therapy within the last 24 to 72 hours.
Meanwhile, people who have clotting disorders such as Hemophilia cannot donate permanently. Same goes with people who had radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Anemia, depending on the type, can be a reason for temporary or permanent deferral.
People who have contracted Hepatitis or AIDS cannot donate blood permanently. Men who had sex with other men, or those who traded sex for money are deferred from blood donation. Activities that predispose a donor to acquiring these diseases may also restrict him from donating blood, such as having multiple sexual partners and illegal intravenous drug use. Scarring is a good indication of chronic drug abuse.
If you got rejected from donating blood temporarily, you can always wait for a while until you are completely healthy and eligible. If you can’t donate blood permanently, there are still other ways to help people. You can always do volunteer works or encourage others to donate their blood. You can help educate them of the prerequisites and of the importance of blood donation and doing that can still make a huge difference.