1.Why do we promote voluntary blood donation?

Voluntary blood donation is promoted since you, the voluntary blood donor form the back-bone of the blood banks, which in turn are the foundation of a safe, adequate and sustainable National blood transfusion system. This is the system that assures that when somebody falls ill, somebody meets with an accident or when a child is to be born, rich or poor, black or white, the red fluid called blood is available to save them.

Also, research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that family, replacement and paid blood donors are associated with a significantly higher prevalence of Transfusion Transmitted Infections since their blood often passes through to the receiver without much checks.

Blood banks with the strength of a regular & voluntary blood donor base ensure that the collection, testing, storage and the final issue to the needy happens smoothly.
How much blood does a person have?

About 1/12th of the body weight of a healthy individual is blood. On an average there are about 5 – 6 litres of blood present.

2. What is the composition of blood?

Blood contains mainly a fluid called plasma in which are suspended cellular elements. Three types of cells – Red Blood Cells or RBC’s, White Blood Cells or WBC’s and tiny platelets form the cellular element.

3. What are the functions of these components?

(a) Plasma: acts as a vehicle to carry many substances like glucose, fats, and proteins, enzymes, and hormones etc., in addition to the blood cells. The liquid part of the blood, is administered to patients with liver problems, burn cases etc.

(b) Red Cells: carry oxygen from lungs to various body tissues and take back carbon dioxide from the cells and tissues to be thrown out of body in the form of exhaled air. These are administered to replenish blood loss- usually used by trauma and surgery patients.

(c) White cells: mainly act as body scavengers and guards. They help in the immune system of the body and act as defence forces of the body killing the bacteria or any other organisms entering the body.

(d) Platelets: help in the clotting and coagulation of blood. We have experienced in our life that whenever we get injured the bleeding stops after a few minutes. This is brought about by a mechanism called clotting of blood in which platelets plays a very vital role. Leukemia and transplant patients, often need platelet transfusions.

4. How long can the blood be stored at blood bank?

Whole blood can be stored for 35 days. The various blood components can be stored as under.

* Platelet Concentrate – 5 days

* Platelet Apherises – 5 days

* Platelet Rich Plasma – 5 days

* Packed Cells – 35 days

* Fresh Frozen Plasma – 1 year

* Cryo Anti Hemophilic Factor – 1 year

* Cryo Poor Plasma – 5 Years

5. What are laboratory tests performed on the collected blood?

* Hepatitis B & C

* Malarial parasite


* Venereal disease (Syphilis)

* Blood Group

* Before issuing blood, compatibility tests (cross matching) is done.

6. What is Aphaeresis?

Aphaeresis is a procedure during which the blood goes to the aphaeresis machine, which removes the selected blood components/cells. The rest of the blood is returned back to the donor. This procedure usually takes one to two hours. It is a a safe procedure for the donor and gives more benefit to the patient who is transfused only the required specific blood component.

7. What is haemoglobin?

Haemoglobin is a substance present in the red cells. It is helpful in carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide. On an average, in a healthy male it should be between 14 – 16 gm % and in a female it should be about 12 – 14 gm %. This is also being daily synthesized and the new is replacing the old stock.

8. What are blood groups?

Every individual has two types of blood groups. The first is called the ABO – grouping and the second type is called Rh – grouping.
In the ABO – group there are four categories namely A Group, B Group, O Group and AB Group.
In the Rh – Group either the individual is Rh-positive, or Rh-negative. Rh is a factor called as Rhesus factor that has come to us from Rhesus monkeys.
Thus each and very human being will fall in one of the following groups.
A positive or A negative
B positive or B negative
O positive or O negative
AB positive or AB negative
There are also some sub groups as well as a few other classifications.

9. What is the universal blood type?

Only ‘O’ Negative redcells can be given to all other blood groups. It is not available most of the times. Hence, universal donation is not practiced very frequently. Moreover, other specific blood groups are mostly available for transfusion. O positive red cells can be given to other Rh positive groups.

10. What is the importance of knowing the blood groups?

For all practical and routine purposes, it is ideal to transfuse to the patient the same group of blood which he belongs to. It is only under very dire emergency that we take O group as universal donor and AB groups as universal recipient. Under no circumstances O group can get any other blood except O. Similarly A group patient cannot be given B group blood and vice versa.

11. Why is A group not given B group blood?

This is due to the reason that, the blood of A Group people contains anti – B antibodies. In B group people there are anti – An antibodies. If we give A group blood to a B group patient, it is bound to be incompatible and will result in serious consequences.

12 .Why are Rh negative and Rh positive incompatible?

A patient with Rh-negative blood cannot be given Rh-positive blood as the antigen-antibody REACTIONS WILL RESULT IN SEVERE consequences.
In cases where a woman has Rh negative and her husband has Rh positive, the first child with Rh positive may be normal. But subsequently the woman may not conceive or may have repeated abortions. There may be intra uterine fetal death. If the child born is alive, it will suffer from a fatal disease called “Erythroblastosis Foetalis”. Now mothers can be given an injection of anti-D within 24 hours of the delivery of a Rh-positive child and thus protect the next baby from this catastrophe.

13. What happens to patients in transfusions with incompatible blood (mismatched blood)?

The following symptoms may occur after only a few ml. of blood have been given:

1. Patient complains of shivering, restlessness, nausea, and vomiting. There is precardial and lumbar pain.

2. Cold, clammy skin with cyanosis.

3. Pulse rate increases, respiratory rate increases. Temperature increases to 38 to 40 deg C. [101 to 105 F].

4. Blood pressure falls and patient passes into a state of shock.

5. Haemoglobinaemia, haemoglobinurea (urine turns red); oliguria (urine becomes scanty or the urinary output is reduced) and anuria (total output of urine becomes 200 ml. a day).

6. Jaundice appears after a few hours and in some cases anuria persists and uremia develops. This may lead to death.

14. Is it safe to donate blood?

Donating blood is very safe and simple. We use only totally sterile disposable blood bags and needles.

15. How long will it take to replenish the blood I have given?

Blood volume or plasma is replaced within 24 hours. Red cells need about 21 days for complete replacement.

16. Who is eligible to donate blood?

In India, you can start donating blood at the age of 18 and up to the age of 60 if you weigh at least 45 kg and be in good health. Your must be having hemoglobin content as minimum 12.5 gm%.

17. Can I donate blood during menstruation?

No, you cannot donate during menstruation.

18. How often can I donate blood?

Whole blood donors can give blood once every 90 days. Apheresis platelet donors can donate more frequently – as much as once in 10days (Apheresis platelet donation takes only blood components and not whole blood and hence is allowed more often).

19. How much blood is collected per donation?

Only 350 ml for whole blood if you weigh 45 kg to 50 kg (or) 450ml of blood if you weigh more then 50 kg.

20. Who gets the blood that I donate?

Every three seconds, someone needs blood.

Patients including premature babies, pregnant mothers, cancer patients, hemophiliacs, accident victims, people undergoing various surgeries or transplants, and many others. You are basically helping save a life.

People donate a unit of blood, about a pint. Usually each unit of whole blood is separated into various components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitated AHF (antihemophilic factor). Each component generally is given to a different person according to their needs.

Needs include: in a bad car accident up to 50 units of blood; bone marrow transplant 20 units of blood, 120 units of plasma; organ transplant 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 25 units of plasma; burns 6 units of platelets; heart surgery 6 units of blood. It is not unusual for young leukemia patients to need eight units of blood a week.

21. What should I do before donating?

We want your donation experience to be pleasant. Please remember:

* Eat a well-balanced meal before you donate with plenty of fluids such as milk, juices.

* Remember the name and dosage of any medications you are taking. Medications will not keep you from donating, but the reason for taking them might.

22. What should I bring with me?

When you come to donate blood, bring the list of medications that you are currently taking.

23. What happens during blood donation?

* You will complete a donor registration form that includes your name, address and a few other details.

* You will be asked a few questions about your health.

* You will go through a simple medical checkup including blood pressure, and pulse.

* A drop of blood will be obtained from your finger tip to test for Hemoglobin% and your group.

* You will proceed to a donor bed where your arm will be cleaned with antiseptic.

* During the donation process, you will donate 350 ml or 450ml depending on your weight.

* After the process is over, you will rest for about 5 minutes.

* Following your donation, you will be given refreshment which is mandatory post bleeding.

* Please, remember to take your donor card.

24. What information is asked for in the form to be filled before donation?

Some basic information about your present health / history of any illness etc is asked for in the form that you fill before donation. This is to ensure that you are not asked to donate blood when you are not well enough to do so and that most of the collected blood is safe. The testing procedures later assure that the blood bank passes on only safe blood to the recipients.

25. How long does the donation take?

The procedure is done by skilled, specially trained technicians and takes three to eight minutes. The bleeding time is 5-7mins, however, from start to finish (filling form, post donation rest etc) the entire process should take about 30 minutes. For apheresis (platelet) collections, the entire process takes two hours.

26. Does the needle hurt the entire time?

There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there usually should be no pain during the donation.

27. Does the donor suffer from any harmful effects after donating blood donation?

Absolutely not, rather a donor after having given blood voluntarily gets a feeling of great pleasure, peace and bliss. Soon, within a period of 24 – 48 hours, the same amount of new blood gets formed in the body, which helps the donor in many ways. His own body resistance improves, the circulation improves, and he himself feels healthier than before.

However, if you feel light-headed or dizzy even after 5 minutes of rest and having refreshments, lie down with your legs raised until the feeling passes. If some bleeding occurs, apply pressure to the site and keep your arm raised for three to five minutes. We ensure that a Doctor is available to see that you leave the blood bank perfectly fine.

28. Does a donor need to rest after donating blood?

Yes. The donor needs rest, preferably lying down, so that the amount of blood that has been donated soon gets poured into the circulation from the body pools in a natural way. The donor should take it easy for about 15 – 20 minutes.

29. Can a donor work after donating blood?

Of course! Routine work is absolutely fine after the initial rest. Rigorous physical work should be avoided for a few hours.

30. How soon after donating can I practice sports?

Sports can be resumed the day after the donation.

31. What special diet should a donor follow after giving blood?

After resting for a while a donor is given some liquid (fluid) to take. It may be a cup of coffee or milk or fruit juice along with a few biscuits, sandwiches, samosa or fruit. The donor needs no other special diet. A routine balanced diet is adequate. The donor’s blood gets replenished within 24 – 48 hours.

However kindly do observe the following suggestions post-donation:

*Increase your fluid intake for the next 24 hours.

*Do not smoke or chew tobacco for 30 minutes.

*Avoid strenuous physical exertion, heavy lifting or pulling with the donation arm for at least 24 hrs.

*However, do not hesitate to contact the blood bank if you have any problems or questions.

32. How long will it take for the body to replenish the blood?

The body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells need about four to eight weeks for complete replacement.

33. How frequently a donor can donate blood?

Three months time between donations is a very safe interval.

34. Can women also donate as much as men do?

Yes. But for women, the Heamoglobin count is a significant factor. Often, we see that many women have Hb less than 12.5. In such cases, they cannot donate. This is a major reason for lower prevalence of blood donation among women.

35. Are there any other benefits of blood donation?

Yes, blood donation is a noble, selfless service! It gives the donor a feeling of joy and contentment. Also this is an expression of love for Mankind, as blood knows no caste, colour, creed, religion or race, country, continent or sex.

36. What is temporary deferral and what is permanent deferral?

Certain times a person cannot donate blood for his own reasons or to avoid any complications to the patients.

Some of the temporary deferral critiria are listed below:

* Not feeling well due to fever, feverish feeling, severe cold, body ache,tiredness etc..

* Fasting on the camp day

* If on medication (antibiotics: 1 week after stopping), Aspirin, Paracetamol, Brufen, etc – 1 day) Under any other medication, kindly contact the doctor at the camp.

Some of the permanent deferral critiria are listed below:

* Abnormal bleeding disorder (deficiency Of clotting factors in donors)

* Any medical illness of heart, kidney, liver & thyroid (Which might affect the donor. Epilepsy (fits) Mental disorder, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Asthma, Cancer, Insulin dependent diabetes and Uncontrolled hyper tension, and any time tested positive for HIV 1 & 2,HEPATITIS B or C

37. How can I get enough iron in my blood to be able to donate blood?

5% of blood donors are temporarily deferred because their hemocrit, the pre-donation test for anemia, was below the recommended 38% minimum. A common cause is a diet poor in iron. It can usually be corrected by increasing the amount of iron-rich food in your diet.

Iron-rich foods include dried fruits (apricots, peaches, raisins, figs, prunes), dried beans (cooked garbanzos, kidney, soybean (tofu), jaggery, lentils, shellfish-fish (clams, oysters, scallops, shrimp, tuna, sardines, mackerel), nuts (and peanut butter), organ foods (especially liver), meats (lean beef, chicken, turkey) and leafy green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce).

38. What should I do if I ever need blood?

Contact your nearest blood bank or get in touch with us and we shall try to organise the requisite number of donors immediately.