Donating blood as an act of solidarity Donating blood as an act of solidarity

Donating blood as an act of solidarity

Special 14 June, 2017 Isabel Vallejo

Donating blood is considered an altruistic action that benefits all of society.

On June 14 each year, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated all throughout the world. This day seeks to bring attention to the importance of using blood donation as a way to incentivize the concept of caring for our neighbor and fostering community cohesion. This is also a day to thank donors for their contribution to saving millions of lives each year and to increasing the quality of patients’ lives who often have life-threatening diseases. The best way to continue spreading this practice is to provide useful information and break down myths about it.

In order for a country to have the blood they need, just 1% to 3% of the population needs to be blood donors (according to the WHO).

It is worth it!

  1. Donating just takes a moment, but it can save many patients’ lives. It is a simple and safe act that is not painful and you are only attended by professionals.
  2. Despite advances in medicine and technology, blood can only come from voluntary donors, which is why it is so important for it to be a common practice.
  3. Just one donation can save three lives. Blood is made up of 55% plasma, 43% red blood cells and a small percentage of platelets, which means it can be used for purposes other than just the transfusion of red blood cells.

Common myths

  • Women will gain weight. False, donating blood does not increase your body mass index.
  • People with tattoos can never be donors. This is not true, after having a tattoo for a year and a half, you can be a candidate.
  • You may contract a disease. If the donation occurs at a legitimate institution that enforces all the appropriate quality standards, there is no risk of this.
  • You can donate blood as much as you want. This is incorrect. There are limits: men can donate five times a year and women can donate four times.

Requirements for being a donor

  • You must be older than 18 and younger than 65.
  • You must weigh more than 50 kg and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 19. 
  • You must have waited at least 4 months since your last donation.
  • You must not have any sexually transmitted diseases or suspect having any. 
  • You must not have had cancer or have heart or lung diseases, malaria, or leishmaniasis.
  • You must not have had surgery, a blood transfusion, or gotten a tattoo or piercing in the last 12 months. 
  • You must not have had any dental work done in the last 7 days.
  • You must not have any infections or be on antibiotics, antiparasitics or antivirals.
  • It is recommended to have eaten something before you donate.