FAQ about Blood Donation

Answers for FAQs on Blood

What is blood? How much blood does a person have?

Blood is the red coloured fluid flowing continuously in our body’s circulatory system. About 1/12th of the body weight of a healthy individual is blood. On an average there are about 5 – 6 litres of blood present.

What is the composition of blood?

Blood contains mainly a fluid called plasma in which are suspended cellular elements. Three types of cells: Red Blood Cells or RBC’s, White Blood Cells or WBC’s and tiny platelets form the cellular element.

What are the functions of these components?

(a) Plasma: acts as a vehicle to carry many substances like glucose, fats and proteins, enzymes and hormones, etc., in addition to the blood cells.

(b) Red Cells: carry oxygen from lungs to various body tissues and take back carbon dioxide from the cells and tissues to be thrown out of body in the form of exhaled air.

(c) White cells: mainly act as body scavengers and guards. They help in the immune system of the body and act as defence forces of the body, killing the bacteria or any other organisms entering the body.

(d) Platelets: help in the clotting and coagulation of blood. We have experienced in our life that whenever we get injured the bleeding stops after a few minutes. This is brought about by a mechanism called clotting of blood in which platelets plays a very vital role.

How is blood formed?

Blood consists of RBCs, WBCs, platelets suspended in plasma. In early embryonic life blood cells are formed in liver and spleen. But by the fifth month the Haemopoisis (i.e., formation of blood) occurs in bone marrow and lymphatic tissues. At birth the entire bone marrow is red and active. Gradually as the child grows, the marrow remains red only in the flat bones and vertebrae. The RBC, grannulocytes of WBC and platelets are produced mainly by bone marrow. The lymphocytes, monocytes, plasma cells are formed in the lymphoid and Reticulo Endothelial tissues. The orderly proliferation of the cells in the bone marrow and their release into circulation is carefully regulated according to the needs of body. Every day, new blood cells are being produced in the bone marrow and every day old cells are dying and being removed from the body.

Red blood cells have a life of 120 days and when it becomes old and senile it is thrown out. White cells live for a few days and platelets for a few hours. Thus, daily new cells are added to the circulation and old are removed from it.

What is haemoglobin?

Haemoglobin is a substance present in the red cells. It is helpful in carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide. On an average, in a healthy male it should be between 14-16 gm % and in a female it should be about 12-14 gm %. This is also being daily synthesized and the new is replacing the old stock.

What are blood groups?

Every individual has two types of blood groups. The first is called the ABO grouping and the second type is called Rh grouping.

In the ABO group there are four categories namely A Group, B Group, O Group and AB Group.

In the Rh Group either the individual is Rh-positive, or Rh-negative. Rh is a factor called as Rhesus factor that has come to us from Rhesus monkeys.

Thus, each and every human being will fall in 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

There are also some sub groups as well as a few other classifications.

FREQUENCY OF BLOOD TYPES
O+ 1 person in 3 O- 1 person in 15
A+ 1 person in 3 A- 1 person in 16
B+ 1 person in 12 B- 1 person in 67
AB+ 1 person in 29 AB- 1 person in 167

What is the importance of knowing the blood groups?

For all practical and routine purposes, it is ideal to transfuse to the patient the same group of blood which he belongs to. It is only under very dire emergencies that we take O group as universal donor and AB groups as universal recipient. Under no circumstances O group can get any other blood except O. Similarly A group patient cannot be given B group blood and vice versa.

Why is A group not given B group blood?

This is due to the reason that the blood of A Group people contains anti-B antibodies. In B group people there are anti-A antibodies. If we give A group blood to a B group patient, it is bound to be incompatible and will result in serious consequences.

Why are Rh negative and Rh positive incompatible?

A patient with Rh-negative blood cannot be given Rh-positive blood as the antigen-antibody reactions will result in severe consequences.

In cases where a woman has Rh negative and her husband has Rh positive, the first child with Rh positive may be normal. But subsequently the woman may not conceive or may have repeated abortions. There may be intra uterine foetal death. If the child born is alive, it will suffer from a fatal disease called “Erythroblastosis Foetalis”. Now mothers can be given an injection of anti-D within 24 hours of the delivery of a Rh-positive child and thus protect the next baby from this catastrophe.

What is a unit of blood?

Blood is collected in plastic bags which contain a watery fluid which prevents blood from getting coagulated. On an average we draw about 450 ml of blood from a person, depending on the weight of the donor. This blood, plus the amount of anti coagulant present in the bottle or bag, is known as one unit of blood.

Can blood of animals be transfused to human beings?

Scientists have tried a lot but so far they are not successful. Only the blood of a human being can be transfused to a human patient.

How long can blood be stored?

Whole blood can be stored up to 35 days, when kept in CPDA anti coagulant solution and refrigerated at 2-4 deg C. But the demand is so great that blood hardly ever remains in storage for so long and is used much before expiry. The various blood components can be stored as under.

  • Platelet Concentrate - 5 days
  • Platelet Apherises – 5 days
  • Platelet Rich Plasma - 5 days
  • Packed Cells – 35 days
  • Fresh Frozen Plasma - 1 year
  • Cryo Anti Hemophilic Factor – 1 year
  • Cryo Poor Plasma – 5 years

Can we separate blood into its components?

Yes! Now with technical advancements, we can make components of blood and store them. For example, plasma can be separated from whole blood and stored up to one year in frozen state at -80 deg C temperature or below. This is called Fresh Frozen Plasma. Similarly there are other components like Platelet Rich Plasma; Platelet Concentrate (can be stored as a life saving measure upto 5 days now at 22-24 degrees C in a platelet incubator and agitator); Cryoprecipitate (which is very useful in treating bleeding disorders due to the deficiency of factor VIII and IX); Factor VIII and IX; Albumin, Globulin and many others.

In most progressive blood banks more than 85% of the blood collected is converted into components and stored. This is because many patients do not require whole blood. For example, a patient whose haemoglobin is low and is therefore anaemic, may just require Packed Cells i.e. only red cells; a patient with burns may need more of plasma than cells; a patient with haemophilia may require only Factor VIII.

Now with the advent of cell-separators, we can directly draw a particular component from the donor, while rest of the blood constituents go back to the donor.

Answers for FAQs on Transfusion

In which situations do patients need blood transfusion?

There are many situations in which patients need blood to stay alive:

  • A patient needs blood after a major accident in which there is loss of blood.
  • No major surgery is performed without blood as there is bound to be blood loss.
  • On an average, for every open heart surgery about 6 units of blood is required.
  • In miscarriage or childbirth, cases the patient may need large amount of blood to be transfused for saving her life and also the child’s.
  • For patients with blood diseases like severe Anaemias especially Aplastic Anaemias, Leucaemias (blood cancer), Haemophilia (bleeding disorder), Thalassemia etc. repeated blood transfusions are the only solution.
  • In many other situations like poisoning, drug reactions, shock, burns, blood transfusion is the only way to save precious human life.

Do you test all the collected blood?

Yes. ALL the blood in the blood bank is tested for following, using the latest technology:

  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Malarial parasite
  • HIV I & II (AIDS)
  • Venereal disease (Syphilis)
  • Blood Group
  • Before issuing blood, compatibility tests (cross matching) is done.

Please note that test results are highly confidential and not shared with anyone. In case of identification of any disease, result is shared with the donor only.

What happens to patients in transfusions with incompatible blood (mismatched blood)?

The following symptoms may occur after only a few ‘ml’ of blood have been given:

1. Patient complains of shivering, restlessness, nausea and vomiting. There is precardial and lumbar pain.

2. Cold, clammy skin with cyanosis.

3. Pulse rate increases, respiratory rate increases. Temperature increases to 38 to 40 deg C. [101 to 105 F].

4. Blood pressure falls and patient passes into a state of shock.

5. Haemoglobinaemia, haemoglobinurea (urine turns red); oliguria (urine becomes scanty or the urinary output is reduced) and anuria (total output of urine becomes 200 ml. a day)

6. Jaundice appears after a few hours and in some cases anuria persists and uremia develops. This may lead to death.

Answers for FAQs on Donating Blood

In which situations do people generally donate blood?

There are three types of blood donors: -

(1) PROFESSIONAL DONORS – They sell their blood, which can be infectious and can transmit very dangerous diseases to the recipient. It is illegal to take blood from any professional donor.

(2) REPLACEMENT DONATION – Healthy relatives and friends of the patient give their blood, of any group, to the blood bank. In exchange, the required number of units in the required blood group is given.

(3) VOLUNTARY DONATION- Here a donor donates blood voluntarily. The blood can be used for any patient even without divulging the identity of the donor. This is the best type of blood donation where a motivated human being gives blood in an act of selfless service.

Is it safe to donate blood and what happens during blood donation?

Donating blood is safe and simple. We use only totally sterile disposable blood bags and needles. The actual donation process works like this:

  • You will complete a donor registration form that includes your name, address and a few other details.
  • You will be asked a few questions about your health.
  • You will go through a simple medical checkup  including blood pressure, and pulse.
  • A drop of blood will be obtained from your finger tip to test for Hemoglobin% and your group.
  • You will proceed to a donor bed where your arm will be cleaned with antiseptic.
  • During the donation process, you will donate 350ml or 450ml depending on your weight.
  • After the process is over, you will rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Following your donation, you will be given  refreshment.

Please, remember to take your donor card

Who is a healthy donor?

Any person within the age group of 18-60 years with a body weight as minimum 45kgs, and having haemoglobin content as minimum 12.5 gm%.

Does a donor need to do anything special before donation?

We want your donation experience to be pleasant.  Please remember :

  • Eat well-balanced food before you donate. You should not be on an empty stomach.
  • Tell us the name and dosage of any medications you are taking. Medications will not keep you from donating, but the reason for taking them might.
  • If you have taken alcohol within 24hrs you cannot donate.

How long does the donation take?

The procedure is done by skilled, specially trained doctors/nurses and takes three to eight minutes. However, from start to finish (filling form, post donation rest, etc) the entire process should take 30 to 40 minutes.

Does the needle hurt the entire time?

There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain during the donation.

Does the donor suffer from any harmful effects after donating blood donation?

Absolutely not, rather a donor after having given blood voluntarily gets a feeling of great pleasure, peace and bliss. Soon, within a period of 24-48 hours, the same amount of new blood gets formed in the body, which helps the donor in many ways. His own body resistance improves, the circulation improves, and he himself feels healthier than before.

Does a donor need to rest after donating blood?

Yes. The donor needs rest, preferably lying down, so that the amount of blood that has been donated soon gets poured into the circulation from the body pools in a natural way. The donor should take it easy for about 10-15 minutes.

Can a donor work after donating blood?

Of course! Routine work is absolutely fine after the initial rest. Rigorous physical work should be avoided for a few hours.

What special diet should a donor follow after giving blood?

After resting for a while a donor is given some liquid (fluid) to take. It may be a cup of coffee or milk or fruit juice along with a few biscuits or fruit. The donor needs no other special diet. A routine balanced diet is adequate. The donor’s blood gets replenished within 24-48 hours.

How long will it take for the body to replenish the blood?

The body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells need about 21 days for complete replacement.

How frequently a donor can donate blood?

A healthy person can donate after every 56 days. Three months time between donations is a very safe interval.

Do any diseases debar a donor from giving blood?

There are many conditions in which we advise not to donate blood. These health conditions could mean that you may not be able to temporarily donate either for a period of 6 months, one year or may also mean that you may never donate blood. These conditions are essential for your safety and also for the safety of those receiving blood. Mentioned below are the deferral conditions.

Permanent Deferral (Life Long):

  • Abnormal bleeding disorder.
  • Heart, Kidney, Liver Disorders, Thyroid Disorder
  • Epilepsy, mental disorders
  • Tuberculosis, Leprosy
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Insulin dependent diabetics, Uncontrolled High BP.

Temporary Deferral (1 year):

  • Surgery.
  • Typhoid.
  • Dog bite/Rabies Vaccination
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Continuous low grade fever.
  • During pregnancy
  • After delivery

Temporary Deferral

  • Tattooing or body piercing (6 months)
  • Dental extraction or root canal treatment (6 months)
  • Intravenous drug abuse (6 months)
  • Malaria (3 months)
  • Vaccination (2 weeks)

For Female Donors:

  • While lactating.
  • During menstrual period (6 to 7 days)

Are there any other benefits of blood donation?

Yes, blood donation is a noble, selfless service! It gives the donor a feeling of joy and contentment. Also this is an expression of love for Mankind, as blood knows no caste, colour, creed, religion or race, country, continent or sex.

37 thoughts on “FAQ about Blood Donation

  1. Nice Post.
    Will you please give us brief on Doanating blood(for Plasma) and again recirculation to donars body , Is any side effect on this method to the donar.

  2. Wold like to arrange a regular blood donation program for thalassemic children. Kindly contact at +91 7738180705 or +91 22 61327793

  3. can u please tell me how many days it will take to generate the platelets taken from the single donor platelet.

  4. “donor after having given blood voluntarily gets a feeling of great pleasure, peace and bliss” Very true, this is exactly how I felt on donating my _ve group to a very needy elderly person, felt very very +ve (last Saturday).

  5. REQUIREMENT OF 4 UNITS BLOOD ON VERY URGENT BASIS UPTO 1/8/12 FOR MY 3 YEARS OLD BABY NAMED SHREYA SHARMA.
    NAME OF DISEASE: BLOOD CANCER (ACCUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA)
    BLOOD GROUP: O+ve

  6. Pingback: Quora

  7. As a incharge of bloodbank I superwised more than 50,000 blood donations.blood donation is our social responsibility.Blood donation is a safe procedure but side effects do happen sometimes.most alarming complication is vaso vagal reaction.A donor may faint after blood donation,who will recover with first aid given by the doctor vasovagal reaction may happen after half hour of blood donation.there are incidents that donor made accidents while driving vehicle.We can decrease the vasovagal reactions to certain extent by giving 450 ml of water to the donor before donating the blood.we advise the donor not to drive, not to operate any machines, not to go high places not to go for swimming after blood donation.

  8. blood donation is a safe procedure but donor may faint after blood donation.I advise the donor not to drive a vehicle,not to operate any machine, not to go for swimming.

  9. Pingback: Places To Donate Blood in Normal, Illinois » Places To Donate BloodPlaces To Donate Blood

  10. hi,
    i need a clarification. i am a person who faint even for normal injection. so thereby i avoid taking injections or any sort of piercing. but i want to donate blood. i don mind d consequences. but would they let me donate blood? pls somebody respond me

  11. If one faints on sharp object exposure its basically phobia. Most phobias may decrease on gradual/ sudden exposure. So its better as remedy to your illness donating a unit of blood ie. life to someone in atertiary centre blood bank with strong determination.

  12. Dear,

    i am having 12 gm% in my body. But, boys should have min 14 – Max 17 gm%. Is it possible to add blood to my body
    directly from Hospital??? i want to increase my blood level in my body.

  13. hii this is Talwinder…. thanks for giving a large amount of information.we will also donate blood..

  14. Thank you, I have just been searching for information about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the source?

  15. @test – According to NACO’s (National Aids Control Organisation) guidelines, a person between the age of 18 and 60 is an eligible donor.
    Source-http://www.nacoonline.org/upload/Policies%20&%20Guidelines/29,%20voluntary%20blood%20donation.pdf

  16. I donated blood two days before but i am having lower back pain.Is there any link between these two???????????reply soon!!

  17. i donated blood one month before , but now i am felling weakness,you know when i sleeping i fel in my body some thinng walking.
    some time sweat come on my head and in my hand

    what should i do plz reply soon

  18. A very resourceful website, I got to know many things and I am motivated to donate blood.

  19. i m male 23 . in this summer i feel weakness in my arms and specially in legs .. my TLC is 11500 whitch is increased 700 in 15 days and my HB is 14.7 whitch increased 2.7 mg in last one and half month..now my skin become more senstive about summer ..it sweat and make red reshes and heat prickly in sweat … i think if i donate some blood then my problems can decrese …am i right or not ?

  20. @Sukhjeet: We dont think blood donation will help in that case. We recommend you consult a doctor. Do ask the doctor if you can donate blood as well- You can save 4 lives by donating blood! :)

  21. I’m no longer certain where you are getting your information, however good topic. I must spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thanks for excellent info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

  22. Why would you say it is illegal for donors to get paid for a donation? Plasma donors are usually paid for their time.
    - phlebotomist

  23. Amaze, fantastic blog composition! Just how long were you blogging and site-building intended for? you have made blogging view straightforward. The full look of your respective web site is spectacular, not to say this content fabric!

  24. I just donated roughly 8 hours ago. I donated regular blood, and the needle hurt the entire time it was in my arm, and for a few hours afterwards. I have eaten and drink plenty of Gatorade and water, don’t drink, and I don’t smoke. I have had a headache since I donated. I took some acetametaphin,(excedrin), and I still have a headache. I ate a big dinner. I am 20, healthy, and have donated 11 times in my life so far. I don’t understand why I was in so much pain, or why I still have a headache.

  25. Can i sell my blood and blood plasma for money?
    If yes, then please tell me how and where in Delhi.

  26. i have a question..the nurse first came & inserted the needle to my right arm & later told its bulged & after 5 min she inserted needle in left arm & took the blood…bt my left hand the part where blood was taken is nt so purple bt very litely purple in colour. bt in my right arm its purplish..wht should i do? is it dangerous?? should i consult a doctor??

  27. My blood donation was stopped early because I got really warm. I felt fine soon after. Will my blood be used? Was my donation even worth it?

  28. Hi i donated blood 4 da 1st time,just wanted to know,when should the nurse take off the needle?when u feeling weak n dizzy?or before that?

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