World Blood Donor Day
June 14, 2020
Every year countries around the world come together to celebrate World Blood Donor Day on June 14th. This day serves as a thank you for voluntary blood donors and to help raise awareness for the need for regular blood donations. The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2020 is “Safe blood saves lives” with the slogan “Give blood and make the world a healthier place”. Blood donations are needed all over the world to help ensure individuals and communities have access to safe blood and blood products for normal and emergency situations. The need for blood and blood products is universal, but having access to safe blood and blood products varies across the world.
Who Can Give Blood?
Most healthy individuals are able to give blood if they are in good health. Below are some basic requirements that are required before blood is donated.
- Age: between 18 and 65.
- Weight: Over 110 lbs.
- Health: You must be in good health at the time of donation. You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug, or other infections. If you’ve recently had a body piercing or tattoo, you cannot donate for 6 months after the procedure. You also cannot donate if you do not meet the minimum hemoglobin level for blood donation.
- Travel: You cannot donate if you have recently traveled to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic.
- For more information on who can donate blood, you can visit the World Health Organization’s website here.
Blood Donation Process
How long does donating blood take? The actual process of blood donation takes 10 minutes on average. You first sign in and go over basic eligibility for donation. Then you answer basic questions about your health history and travel during a private and confidential interview. When donating whole blood, your arm will be cleansed before sticking you with a new sterile needle for the blood draw. You’ll be sitting or lying down comfortably. After about a pint of blood has been collected the donation is complete and your arm will be bandaged up.
What happens to your blood after donation? The blood has to then be processed. Information about your donation is scanned into a database. Whole blood donations are spun in centrifuges to separate it into transfusable components: red cells, platelets, and plasma. The plasma may be reprocessed into more components such as cryoprecipitate, which helps control the risk of bleeding by helping blood to clot. Red cells and platelets are leuko-reduced, which removes white cells to reduce the possibility of the recipient having a reaction to the transfusion.
While your blood donation is being processed a small sample of your blood gets sent to a testing laboratory. Several tests are performed to establish blood type and test for infectious diseases. If your test result is positive, your donation will be discarded and you will be notified.
After testing and processing, suitable donations are labeled and stored. Red cells are stored in refrigerators at 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 42 days. Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to 5 days. Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year.
When an ill or injured patient arrives at a hospital or treatment center physicians determine if the patient requires a transfusion. Blood transfusions are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances including serious injuries, surgeries, childbirth, anemia, blood disorders, cancer treatments, and many more.
Have you ever donated blood? How many times? Are you going to donate this year? Did you know there is no process to make artificial blood?