Donating blood? Read this before you do

  • By Dr. Neha Agrawal

Who can donate?

Any healthy adult can donate blood. This means your hemoglobin levels should be within normal limits, your blood pressure should be normal and you should not have any diseases that can be transmitted through blood (HIV, malaria, syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C).

Generally, the minimum age is that of 18 years for both genders. The maximum age can be up to 60 or 65, largely depends on the general health of the donor.

How much to donate?

At a time, not more than 450 ml. That is about ten percent of the blood volume in your body and it won’t have any untoward effects on your health. The body replenishes the donated blood within three days. A small percentage of donors may feel slight weakness or dizziness, in which case they should rest till they feel totally reenergized.

There should be a minimum gap of 90 days between two blood donations, i.e. if you donate today, wait for a minimum of ninety days till you do it again.

Before you donate

  1. Do not have coffee or alcohol before donating.
  2. Eat a full meal at least three hours before donating.
  3. Do not eat junk food or rich fatty foods for about 24 hours before donation.
  4. Have iron rich food for two weeks before you donate – cereals, fruits, raisins, prunes, dates, figs, leaves, etc.

After you donate

  1. Rest for fifteen minutes in the same place where you have donated.
  2. Have a lot of water, juices and take a light snack.
  3. Do not engage in any heavy physical activity for 24 hours – cycling, running, physical training.
  4. Do not smoke for two hours at least.
  5. Do not have alcohol before you have had a meal.
  6. Keep a bandage in place from the site of blood donation and check for any bleeding for three hours.

Some important points

  1. People between age group 18-35 years can donate blood.
  2. Have your breakfast/lunch at least an hour before donating blood.
  3. Donor’s hemoglobin level should be 12.5 gm/dL.
  4. Men can donate blood every 3 months and Women can donate it every 4 months.
  5. Donating 350 ml of blood out of 5-6 litres present in our body does not cause any harm to body.
  6. By donating blood once, you can help save 3-4 lives.
  7. People suffering from recurrent loose motions or weight issues should not donate blood.
  8. Diabetes, asthma, hepatitis, heart disease, cancer are the contraindications for blood donation.
  9. People with negative blood group should enroll with all the blood banks.
  10. Women should contribute equally along with men in donating blood.

Did you know?

Every cell in our body needs oxygen and hemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen supply. Normal level is greater than 12.5 gm/dl. Jaggery, carrots, beet, nachni, green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron. Eating them regularly increases hemoglobin level.


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