Blood donors make an essential contribution to society. There is a requirement for an increased number of people all over the globe to donate blood and contribute to the better health of people around them. India requires 5 crore units of blood every day but only 2.5 crore units get available. There are lots of myths and fears associated with blood donation which need to be removed. Medicircle is conducting an exclusive series on blood donation by speaking to eminent haematologists so that people get aware of the benefits of blood donation and get rid of their misconceptions.
Dr. Mitu Shrikhande is a Senior Consultant - Haematology, practising at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. She has over 20 years of experience in her field and believes in the holistic care of her patients. She treats both benign blood disorders as well as severe health conditions like blood cancers.
Don’t be scared of donating blood
Dr. Shrikhande says, “World Blood Donor Day which falls in June is a good opportunity to not only pay our gratitude to all the people who come forward for voluntary donations but also urge all those in the public who are potential donors but are held back because of certain myths that “please do not be scared and come forward to donate blood, which is a very safe and healthy thing to do.”
She further emphasizes, “Blood is a vital component for health, and blood donation is safe. Blood donation is very critical to manage a lot of health issues like some people who require surgeries cannot get it done without blood component therapy, or in treatment of blood cancers which I treat, we require the support of blood. It is very integral and people must understand this.”
Who can donate blood?
Dr. Shrikhande mentions, “Anybody who is in the age group of 18 to 65 years, with hemoglobin which is more than 12.5 grams per decilitre and weight above 50 kg can donate blood if he /she has adopted a safe lifestyle and is not suffering from any major disease. If there are infections or if a person is on antibiotics, then after 2 weeks of complete recovery the person can donate blood.”
Dr. Shrikhande lists down the health conditions in which blood donation is not allowed:
- Insulin-dependency due to diabetes
- Chemotherapy or radiotherapy due to cancer
- Hepatitis B and C
- High-risk behaviors
- Pregnant or feeding mothers
- Kidney or liver disorders etc.
Diabetes and blood donation
Dr. Shrikhande clarifies, “If a diabetes patient’s blood condition is optimally well controlled then he/she can donate blood. However, if the person is insulin-dependent, then such donors are deferred from doing so because the blood sugar level of insulin-dependent people fluctuates and there can be problems in their blood sugar levels post blood donation.
Fever, flu, and blood donation
Dr. Shrikhande explains, “Generally, fever, flu, etc. are short-lasting conditions. Donating blood in such conditions is not advisable for the health of the donor. So, until the fever and flu settle down, blood donations of such people are deferred.”
Covid and blood donation
Dr. Shrikhande advises, “If a person has suffered from mild or moderate covid infection, then he/she can donate blood after 2-3 weeks of complete recovery. Those who have taken the vaccine can donate after 1 month of 2nd dose.”
(Edited by Amrita Priya)