World Blood Donor Day was initiated by the World Health Organisation, the Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross to be celebrated on June 14, which is also the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner who classified the main blood groups. World Blood Donor Day is celebrated to thank blood donors across the world and to raise awareness about the requirement of safe blood and blood products. The day also promotes unpaid and voluntary donation of blood, which is a life saving gift to the person in need. Every year, the campaign focuses on one main issue and this year the focus is on blood donation in emergencies. For World Blood Donor Day 2017, the slogan is, “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often”. (ALSO READ Best iron-rich foods to boost haemoglobin: Top 10 foods to improve haemoglobin levels in blood).

Blood donation saves lives and helps many patients. Blood transfusions are required in several life-threatening diseases. Donating blood helps these patients live longer. Every healthy person should donate blood and do it often. Here’s everything you need to know about blood donation.

1. It is safe

Donating blood is completely safe and will not harm your health in any way. The equipment used for donation are always new and sterile, so you do not have to worry about infection or other diseases. You will not feel any weakness or dizziness after blood donation. You will be donating a unit of your blood, which will replenish within 24 to 48 hours of the donation.

2. Blood donation eligibility

Blood donation

Blood donation

You need to be in good health if you want to donate blood. Your age should be between 18 and 60, weight should be at least 50 kg, should not be suffering from ailments like asthma, diabetes or other communicable diseases and your hemoglobin level should be at least 12.5 g/dL. Your body temperature should be normal and your pulse should be between 50 and 100. Systolic blood pressure between 100-180 mm Hg and diastolic BP between 50-100 mm Hg is suitable for blood donation. (ALSO READ: Best Foods with Vitamin C: Top 10 fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C).

You cannot donate blood if you have donated it in the past 56 days. A waiting period of 8 weeks is required for a person before his next blood donation as the body replenishes itself during this time. However, you can donate platelets again after seven days as it is produced by the body within few hours of the donation.

3. Parental consent

Parental consent is required if the donor is below the age of 16. (ALSO SEE Tips for getting a good night’s sleep: 6 tips and tricks to sleep better).

4. You can donate blood or blood components

Your blood has four types components: platelets, red blood cells, cryoprecipitate and plasma. In many cases, the patient requires a specific blood product, so your blood can save many lives. You can either donate blood or its components. Donating components of blood is known as apheresis.

5. The donation requires just 10 minutes

Blood

Blood

The actual blood donation will require just 10 minutes but the whole process takes around one hour. Your body weight, hemoglobin levels, blood pressure and pulse is checked. Usually there is a small form to fill up, after which your blood is collected. You are required to rest for sometime before you leave the blood donation center. (ALSO READ 5 things the color of your period blood tells you about your body and health).

Tips for blood donation

Before you go for blood donation, make sure you are eating a healthy diet with foods rich in iron. You can eat fish, spinach, red meat and raisins. Your body should be well hydrated. Avoid fatty foods like fries, burgers and ice cream.

During donation, let the nurse or the person taking the blood know which arm you prefer. You can also show them the visible vein. You can talk or listen to music during the donation procedure. Do not drink anything as soon as you are done donating the blood.

After you are finished with the blood donation, keep the bandage for couple of hours. Your body will require water, so make sure you drink extra four glasses of water during the day. Do not go for vigorous exercise or lift heavy items for the rest of the day. If the site of blood donation starts to bleed, lift your arm straight up and apply pressure on the site. Keep your skin clean to avoid rashes. If you feel lightheadedness or dizziness, then sit down and drink some water. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water to stay healthy.

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