As it is World Blood Donors Day today, it may be a good idea to learn some important facts about blood. The WHO campaign slogan this year is “Blood connects us all” as donating blood can save someone’s life. The discovery of human blood groups was made in 1901 by an Austrian physician, Dr. Karl Landsteiner. World Blood Donors Day is celebrated on his birthday, 14th June.
HEALTH FACT — 1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives
Every year in India, we require about 5 crore units of blood, from which donations only account for 80 lakh units of blood. This blood can be stored for about 35 days, if it has been kept in CPDA anti-coagulant solution at 2-4°C. There is a large gap in the need for blood, as every 2 seconds someone is in need of blood.
Why do you need to collect blood?
There may be many situations where blood is required for patient’s to stay alive:
- Major accident or emergency situation, where a lot of blood has been lost
- Surgery (almost all surgeries have blood loss, which needs to be replaced)
- Childbirth or miscarriage may require blood to save the mother and child’s life
- Blood diseases (anaemia, leukaemia, haemophilia, thalassemia)
- Poisoning or reactions caused by drugs may also require blood transfusion
- Organ Transplant
Which tests are carried out before donation and transfusion?
There are certain diseases that are essential to test for before drawing blood from the donor:
- HIV I and II (AIDS)
- Hepatitis B and C
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (Syphilis, HPV, Genital Herpes)
Also, the compatibility of the blood groups have to be tested. Donating the wrong blood type to a patient can cause coagulation of blood, resulting in shock and eventually death. Find out what blood type you are and who you can donate to:
‘O‘ blood types are known as the universal blood groups and can donate to all the blood groups (O, A, B, AB).
‘A‘ blood types can donate to A and AB.
‘B‘ blood types can donate to B and AB.
‘AB‘ blood types can only donate to other AB blood types.
FUN FACT — There is blood group called Bombay Blood Group (h/h or Oh), which is very rare! These individuals can donate blood to anybody with ABO grouping, but can only receive blood from Bombay blood groups.
So, if you are concerned about contracting diseases from a blood donation, think again. It is important to go to a safe blood donation bank and make sure they use disposable sterile needles. However, your blood donation can save upto three lives. A healthy donor can donate blood every 56 days, so go and donate blood today!