Blood donation is one of the few ways in which you can help save other people's lives, especially when stocks decrease regularly.
According to the National Blood Service of South Africa, blood stocks are running low, especially O Positive, and O Negative, which are 2.5 and 2.6 days in stock, respectively.
Many people get scared when thinking about needles, but if you look at the larger picture, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort of a small needle stick.
Sister Kim Strutt, clinical coordinator of Western Province Blood Transfusion Services (WPBTS), details the process of an ordinary blood donation.
The first step is to complete a confidential questionnaire.
The questionnaire helps nurses who have a general idea of their health at hand. Your answers determine if the coordinators should continue with the blood donation or not. This questionnaire protects you and the recipient from any possible harm.
Once the questionnaire is completed and accepted, a fingerstick test is performed and the hemoglobin (iron) levels are marked. According to Sister Strutt, " it should be 12.5 for women and 13.5 for men. "
If your iron levels are too low, you may have an iron deficiency or anemia. If your iron levels are too low, you can not donate. (Donating blood is a great way to get information about your health)
If your hemoglobin levels are fine, then your blood pressure is measured. "If all is well, the blood donation process continues, taking approximately 10 minutes to complete," says Sister Strutt.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, the act of donating blood is one of benevolence, previously described as an act of altruism. Once you complete your donation, you will be rewarded with a cookie and some juice. You may experience slight dizziness or fatigue after donation, caused by a loss of hemoglobin. Refreshments help to counter this.
What happens next?
A unit may seem like very little, but when a unit is processed and divided into compartments, it can go a long way. The blood compartments can be divided into platelet concentrates, red blood concentrates, cryoprecipitate and plasma.
According to Dr. Phillip DeChristopher of Loyola University, "if blood has a high viscosity or resistance to flow, it will flow like molasses." donate, your blood will flow better, exert less pressure on your arteries and, therefore, reduce arterial damage. It also helps regulate the levels of iron in your blood and protects your arteries from damage.
When you donate blood, you only donate 475 ml, which equals one unit. Only one unit is allowed to donate every 56 days.
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