Who Can A Positive Donate To
A+ red blood cells can be given to both A+ and AB+ patients. A+ plasma and platelet donations are important blood products that can be used for many patients needing these types of transfusions. Therefore, A+ donors are encouraged to donate platelets, plasma or whole blood.
Blood is the universal life force. It allows us to live, it keeps our bodies healthy and gives us energy. Blood transports oxygen from your lungs (where it was formed) through arteries to all parts of the body where it picks up carbon dioxide and returns this gas back to the lungs so it can be exhaled. This process is called circulation. The heart beats approximately 1 billion times each day to keep the blood flowing throughout the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygenated blood, you would not survive more than a few minutes without breathing supplemental oxygen.
Types Of Blood And Their Uses
There are three basic blood types – O, B & AB. Each type has different functions in the body and they respond differently to certain diseases. There are two main types of blood transfusion – whole blood and components. Whole blood transfusions consist of packed red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and plasma. Components transfusions include only the RBCs and WBCs while leaving out the plasma component. Plasma contains proteins that help clot blood when needed. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body. White blood cells fight off bacteria and viruses.
Whole blood transfusions are usually recommended for sickle cell disease because most people with sickle cell disease have low levels of normal hemoglobin and need regular transfusions of fresh red blood cells. Sickle cell disease affects about one million people in the United States alone. Patients who receive a whole blood transfusion will require another donation after four weeks due to the rapid destruction of donated RBCs by the immune system. If you donate whole blood, you may also be eligible to get screened again six months later.
Components transfusions are usually used for trauma victims where large amounts of bleeding are present, such as during surgery, childbirth, etc. They are also used for those suffering from autoimmune disorders where there is a high risk of exposure to foreign tissue antigens. Transfusions of components are usually temporary measures until enough new donor blood is available. Because components transfusions contain fewer cells than whole blood, they don’t trigger the same immune response and therefore reduce the chances of developing severe complications following a transfusion. In addition, components transfusions do not require additional screening prior to donating blood and no special restrictions on future donations apply.
Donors of any of the blood types can give their own blood but if you’re going to give someone else’s blood, make sure it’s OK with them first. Most hospitals check with the patient before allowing a non-relative to donate blood. However, some states allow anyone over age 17 to donate. Ask your doctor how old you need to be before you can donate blood.
Positive Donating Versus Negative Donating
All blood donations are split into two categories – negative or positive. Negative donors are those who test positive for any of the known human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. Positive donors are those who test negative for HIV infection. Some states require negative testing results for donors. Others use voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). VCT offers anonymous HIV testing at sites like clinics. Those who choose not to take advantage of VCT must wait 6-12 months before giving blood.
The majority of blood centers follow national guidelines established by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). These guidelines recommend that men who have had sex with another man within the past year should defer themselves from donating blood for 4 years. Men who have sex with women should defer themselves from donating blood for 2 years. Women who have been pregnant should avoid becoming donors for 3 years. Pregnant women who become donors are asked to wait 6 months after delivery before donating again.
Those who believe that they have been exposed to HIV should undergo testing and repeat tests every 6 months. Those who test positive for HIV are referred to medical professionals for further evaluation. Once diagnosed, they will need to be treated for the infection.
Although rare, cases of hepatitis C transmission via blood transfusions have occurred. Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver caused by the HCV strain. Approximately 75% of infected individuals eventually develop chronic illness and 20%-30% die within 5 years. It is spread mainly through contact with infectious blood and other bodily fluids.
Infection generally occurs when the blood is contaminated during collection, processing or distribution stages. Infected blood is likely to transmit the disease if collected from an individual with acute hepatitis C. Contaminated equipment, needles and syringes also pose risks. Transmission of hepatitis C from blood transfusions has been reported rarely. However, if the blood comes from an infected person then the possibility exists.
To prevent the potential transmission of hepatitis C, all blood donors are routinely tested for antibodies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) using third generation enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and/or second generation recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). All donors found to be anti-HCV positive are required to be counseled about the implications of their status. Counseling includes information regarding possible modes of transmission, current treatments options, pregnancy planning, and availability of post-transfusion testing.
If you think you’ve been exposed to hepatitis C, you’ll need to get tested. You’ll need specialized treatment and your health care provider will refer you to specialists. Treatment for hepatitis C varies depending on the severity of the condition. Your doctor will discuss various therapies and determine what best suits your particular situation.
How To Become A Donor
Becoming a blood donor takes time, patience and commitment. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to donate whole blood or just components. Next, you’ll need to schedule your appointment to see your local blood center and complete the necessary paperwork. Once you qualify, you’ll be able to sign up online for scheduled appointments or call a toll free number to find your nearest location. Finally, you’ll need to pass the appropriate pre-donation exams. The first involves a physical examination including height measurement, weight, pulse oximetry, vision exam and hearing test. The second involves a series of questions related to your lifestyle and family history. After passing both exams, you’ll be officially qualified to donate.
Once you qualify to donate, you’ll need to set up an account with the blood bank you plan to visit. Check with them to see what forms you’ll need to fill out. Forms vary slightly among different blood banks. For example, some ask for your address and phone numbers, others ask you to provide your email address. Whatever the case, make sure you bring copies of your social security card, driver license and insurance policy. Also, bring copies of your prescription medications.
Finally, once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by staff members who will explain the donation process. Donations are typically divided into whole blood and components. The differences between the two processes are explained to you. Then, you’ll need to fill out several forms including a detailed medical questionnaire. Depending upon the state laws, you may be asked to provide written consent. Then, you’ll need to go through a brief training session. During this time, you’ll learn about the importance of safe handling of donated blood. Before making your final decision, you’ll have the option to speak privately with a trained counselor. At this point, you’ll either decide to continue donating or not.
Afterwards, you’ll receive a complimentary ride home and be offered refreshments. Donors are allowed to eat and drink as long as they don’t smoke cigarettes or consume alcohol. Generally, donors are escorted out of the building and don’t stay behind after completing their donation. However, some locations offer overnight accommodations for donors. Although there are no specific requirements regarding sleep habits, you’ll need to be rested and alert. You should avoid consuming caffeine, smoking and excessive alcohol before donating blood.
As mentioned earlier, donors of all blood types can give their blood. Even though there are no restrictions based on race or ethnicity, you’ll still need to meet certain criteria before being accepted as a donor. Acceptable weight ranges from 110 lbs. to 275 lbs. for men and 100 lbs. to 200 lbs. for women. Height requirements range from 5’4″ to 6’5″. As far as education goes, you must be at least 18 years old, fully literate and capable of understanding informed consent documents. Lastly, you must be willing to participate in a criminal background check.
The benefits of donating blood are numerous. Not only does your blood save the lives of others, it helps others in dire situations. With proper precautions, you too can protect yourself from contracting potentially deadly illnesses by helping others. So next time you feel the urge to reach for that bag of chips instead of that candy bar, consider donating your blood instead.
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