Be Someone’s Hero
According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. With World Blood Donor Day happening each year on the 14th of June, it’s a good time to reflect on why you should donate blood.
Not only are you saving up to three lives with one donation, there are also quite a few health benefits to donating blood. According to Colombia University Irving Medical Centre, regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks.
The director of transfusion medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Centre, Robert DeSimone says, “If your haemoglobin is too high, blood donation helps to lower the viscosity (thickness) of the blood, which has been associated with the formation of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke.”
ACCORDING TO SANBS, PEOPLE WITH THESE CONDITIONS MIGHT NEED BLOOD:
- Women haemorrhaging due to pregnancy complications and other gynaecological complications
- Premature babies
- Children with severe anaemia
- Accident trauma patients
- Surgical and cancer patients
WHY SHOULD YOU DONATE BLOOD?
To meet the daily demand for blood, SANBS must collect an average of 3 500 units of blood a day, and blood can be stored for only 42 days after donation.
Each unit of blood can be separated into its various components – red cells, plasma and platelets – and given to patients with different needs. What’s more, a unit of blood is also used to help advance the science of blood-related medicine worldwide if it is used for research purposes. That’s why it is essential to donate your blood regularly.
If you plan to donate blood, follow these steps:
Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated makes it easier to find your veins and prevents you from becoming lightheaded after donating.
Don’t skip breakfast and be sure to eat the snacks offered to you in order to refuel your body.
Exercise before donating blood, not afterwards.
It’s OK to go to the gym before you donate blood, but not recommended on the same day after donating as one might experience some dizziness.
The South African National Blood Service recommends that individuals who donate blood frequently take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron. It is recommended that teenage donors in particular follow this advice as it has been shown that teenage donors are at a higher risk of becoming iron deficient after donating.
TAKE A QUIZ
As we celebrate Youth Day and World Blood Donor Day this June, take the time to donate blood. It is a safe process and it only takes about 30 minutes. Take the quiz and find out if you can save three lives today.