Since blood cannot be created synthetically, modern medicine depends on blood donation drives to source blood
that can be used in emergencies to save peoples’ lives. Although hospitals and blood collection centers take adequate measures to ensure safe collection of blood, a lot more people would readily donate blood if they knew it was 100% safe.
Here is a look at the two main risks associated with blood donation and what can be done to eliminate those risks.
1. Sudden drop in blood pressure and anemia: Blood donation can lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure that can cause a person to feel light headed and even faint. In some extreme cases, it can lead to anemia. To mitigate this risk, a blood donor should be given a finger prick test to check the levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Only if hemoglobin levels are within the safe range for blood donation should blood be donated on that particular day. Heart rate and blood pressure should also be checked to ensure there is no other risk from donating blood. Anyone with high blood pressure or elevated heart rate should refrain from donating blood on that particular day.
2. Risk of infection: If the needle, tube, or bag used for collection of blood is infected, there may be a risk of contracting deadly infections from other patients. To ensure safety, all equipment used for collecting blood should be brand new and still packed in its sterile packaging. Make sure the equipment is opened right in front of you, used immediately, and then discarded carefully.
When the needle is first inserted into the vein, the donor will feel a little discomfort but this should be only momentary. If continued pain is felt even after a minute or two has elapsed, the needle may not have been inserted properly. Do not make the mistake of thinking that blood donation is meant to be painful and that a person has to be brave and bear the pain. Improperly inserted needles can lead to heavy bleeding or a rupture in the vein, and should be immediately brought to the attention of the person collecting the blood.
Other Considerations When Donating Blood
- Do not donate blood more frequently than once in a two month time period, as it takes that much time for the body to replace blood previously donated.
- Do not donate more than one pint of blood at one time to avoid unnecessary health complications.
- Have a small snack and a drink after donating blood. Orange juice, coffee, biscuits, and crackers should be kept handy for this purpose.
- The needle may leave a slight bruise on the skin where it was inserted and that area may be a little sore for a few hours. However, if the bruising and soreness persists even after a couple of days, the donor should be checked by a doctor.
- Do not undertake any kind of heavy lifting or other strenuous activity for at least 6-8 hours after donating blood.
By taking the above precautions, a person can ensure that blood donation is 100% safe. Even better, the blood donated may save a life.