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FAQs
Should I eat before donating blood?
Yes. You should have eaten something within four hours before donating blood. It helps to maintain adequate blood sugar levels.

What will happen to my blood after I donate?
Each unit of blood is assigned a unique identification number. Samples collected from each unit are tested for a complete blood group for any irregular antibodies, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, VDRL, Malaria etc. In the component lab, blood is separated into components – red blood cells, platelets, plasma, cryoprecipitate etc. The blood products are then placed in quarantine temperature-controlled refrigerators until the test results are available. The units that are cleared are labeled and kept ready for patients who require transfusion.

Do donors suffer from any harmful effects after donating blood?
Absolutely not. Instead, donors usually report feelings of expansiveness, peace and satisfaction. An average-size adult has approximately 5 to 6 litres of blood in his / her body. The blood drawn is less than one-tenth of this volume ie, 350ml – 450ml, depending on the donor’s body weight. This volume is replenished within 24 to 48 hours. Red cells and the iron are restored in 6 to 8 weeks. You can donate blood again after 3 months.

Why is voluntary blood donation preferred?
Voluntary donors are safe because they donate blood out of humanitarian considerations. They do not expect any reward. They do not have anything to hide as far as their medical status is concerned. By continually returning to donate blood, they provide a safe and stable supply of this precious resource.

Though donors donate blood free, why do hospitals charge a patient for a unit of blood?
Hospitals do not charge patient for blood. It is free. Each bag of blood collected undergoes screening tests for antibodies of HIV 1 & 2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, VDRL, Malarial parasites, irregular antibodies and blood group. The tests are done prior to releasing the blood and its components to patients. These screening procedures along with storage, cost of consumables and administrative expenses account for the charges.

Can blood transfused from a close relative be fatal?
Contrary to the popular belief that a relative’s blood is the safest for a patient, blood or blood products especially from first-degree relatives can result in fatal complications called ‘transfusion-associated graft versus host disease’. The complication is generally caused in immuno-compromised patients like cancer patients and newborn babies. Transfusion-associated graft versus host disease results because of engraftment and proliferation of T-lymphocytes from the donor’s blood in the recipient, leading to tissue damage and death eventually.

What is autologous blood donation?
Autologous blood transfusion is the collection and re-infusion of a patient’s own blood or blood components. Although not completely risk-free, autologous blood is the safest form of blood transfusion. It eliminates reactions due to donor-recipient incompatibility and eliminates exposure to transfusion-transmitted infections.

What are blood groups?
Blood type is determined by the antigen present in your red blood cell. An individual has 2 types of blood groups – ABO grouping & Rh grouping.
The ABO group has four categories – (1) A group (2) B group (3) O group (4) AB group.
In the Rh group, the individual is either Rh-positive or Rh-negative. Thus the blood group of any human being will fall into any one of the following groups:
A-Positive or A-Negative
B-Positive or B-Negative
O-Positive or O-Negative
AB-Positive or AB-Negative

Myths & Facts about Blood Donation
Myth #1: It takes too much time to donate blood.
Fact: It takes around 30 – 45 minutes, mainly to fill out the medical questionnaire and check your vital signs. The actual process of donation takes less than 10 minutes.

Myth #2: The needle is very painful. I can’t take the pain.
Fact: The pain one feels is very minimal.

Myth #3: It is not safe to donate blood. I may get a disease after that.
Fact: The whole process is absolutely safe. Only brand-new, disposable needles are used for each and every donor. Needles are discarded every time they are used. Donors can therefore never catch any infectious disease from blood donation.

Myth #4: Donors give blood for free, and then hospitals earn money by charging patients for blood.
Fact: Hospitals do not charge patients for blood. It is free. Each bag of blood collected undergoes screening tests for Antibodies of HIV 1 & 2, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C viruses, Syphilis, Malarial parasites, irregular antibodies and blood group. These tests are done prior to releasing the blood and its components to the patient. These screening procedures along with storage, cost of consumables and administrative expenses account for the charges.

Myth #5: I will gain weight if I donate blood.
Fact: One pint of blood (450ml) when donated burns 650 calories in the donor’s body. There won’t be any weight gain unless you feel you need to eat a lot after donating blood to ‘compensate’.
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