In 2019, 1,685,527 donations were made in Spain with which more than 400,000 patients were treated and 1,860,000 blood transfusions were carried out. Data that may be too general to understand the importance and need for donating blood. Perhaps it is more effective to explain that When you donate blood, you help save up to three lives, as detailed by the Red Cross on its website donarsangre.org, since each bag of blood is divided into 3 components: red blood cells (red blood cells), plasma and platelets that will be transfused to each patient according to their needs.
Therefore, Blood donation is an altruistic act, necessary at all times of the year and in all circumstances – such as a pandemic situation like the one we are experiencing with COVID19 – and of great value in the health field. But can we all donate blood?
Conditions to be a donor
In order to donate blood, a series of conditions must be met and it must be taken into account that there are restrictions in some cases that may make donation impossible. Thus, the basic conditions to be a donor are the following:
It must be taken into account that, from the age of 65, a person can donate if he is a regular donor and if the doctor gives his approval at the time of donation. In this sense, we cannot be donors after 60 years if we have never been before.
The reason for this weight limitation is that 450 cc of blood are extracted for each donation, which is the maximum amount that can be extracted from a person weighing 50 kg without causing any harm.
At the time of donation, you must be well and strong enough to make the donation, and the fact that you are taking medication does not prevent you from becoming a donor in most cases. In this way, you can donate if you are allergic and are taking antihistamines as long as there are no respiratory difficulties at the time of donation. Or if you take medication for high blood pressure, if the levels are correct.
On the other hand, women can donate even when they are menstruating or taking oral contraceptives. And, in any case, the doctor who performs the examination at the time of donating, will be able to resolve any doubts and will approve whether it is possible to proceed.
When you can’t be a donor
That said, there are situations as we have discussed in which you cannot be a blood donor temporarily or at any time.
- Temporarily cannot
For four months after a major surgery (in the case of minor surgery only one week) or in the case of having undergone acupuncture without disposable material. We also have to wait 4 months if we have got a tattoo or piercing.
If we have been vaccinated, we must also respect a time margin before donating blood, which will vary depending on the type of vaccine (24 hours in the case of influenza or allergy or up to 28 days in the case of measles or chickenpox, for giving some examples).
Another aspect that can affect the possibility of being a donor is having traveled to a foreign country. In this case, the waiting days before donating also vary according to the destination country of our trip.
And in the case of having symptoms of illness, be it COVID-19 or flu, cold, etc. you cannot donate blood. And it is that, although the coronavirus is not contagious by a transfusion, this measure has been adopted to avoid contagion to other donors or to the health personnel who receive the donor.
But as we have already said, the doctor always decides if it can be donated after the appropriate recognition.
There are a series of diseases that make it impossible to be a donor such as hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. In addition, being insulin-dependent diabetic or epileptic and undergoing treatment (up to 3 years without treatment) does not allow you to donate blood as well as having a serious disease such as cancer.