Friday, June 14, 2013

World Blood Donor Day 2013

By Nurse Diane

My aunt recently fell and hit her head on her concrete carport.  She was eventually moved to ICU where she received 4 pints of platelets.  She had a blood disorder that required many blood donations.  My aunt did not survive this fall, but the donations allowed her a few extra days to spend with her children, one who made it to her bedside the day before she passed away. Our family is very grateful to all those who gave there time and blood to make this happen.
Enticing blood is not an easy task.  Several large corporations have blood drives for their employees offering incentives and prizes.  The blood mobile can be seen at local festivals or health fairs.  They will even go to high schools to encourage the older students to donate.  When I was in high school I wanted to donate, mainly to get out of class, but also to help someone who needed it.

If there is a local tragedy, people will flock to the hospitals to donate their blood, and even if they don't have the same blood type, their blood will be stored for future use.  The biggest problem faced is storing the blood.  Shelf life for plasma can be up to a year, but red blood cells can only be stored for as long as 40 days, and platelets for only 7 days.  This makes blood donation a constant need.
There are specific requirements for donating blood.  You must be at least 17 years of age, must be afebrile at the time.  A medical history is checked, and a screening test is performed to make sure there are no medications or any possible diseases.  Pregnant women are deferred, and sometimes the elderly to prevent any health risks.

Today is World Blood Donor Day.  This is the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the scientist who discovered the ABO blood group system.  As of 2008, the WHO estimated that more than 81 million units of blood were being collected annually.  Donating blood is relatively simple and painless.  After the questions and blood screening, you simply lie in a chair, a needle is inserted in your arm, and then your blood flows into a bag.  It doesn't take very long, depending on how fast your blood flow is.  You need to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes and enjoy some snacks so you don't get dizzy or faint.

Why don't you go and donate some blood today, who knows you might even get a free tee shirt, or a day off work with pay not to mention the great feeling you will get from saving someone's life.
(Images from Google) 

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