Will you donate blood?  Here's everything you need to know!

This Thursday (25th), the National Blood Donor Day takes place. The symbolic date is marked by campaigns that seek to make the population aware of the importance of this simple act, but one that can save lives. Today, Brazil has low stocks and the lack of this supply could threaten surgery and transfusions.

With the covid-19 pandemic, blood bank stocks reached very low levels and, depending on the location, donations did not return to the pre-coronavirus level. In São Paulo, in the most serious moments, stocks reached only 22% of their capacity, according to Pró-Sangue. Today, the bank is still in critical condition for types O+, O-, A- and B-.

In other words, a lot can still be done to make hospitals operate safely. And this does not depend on the blood type, as all donations are welcome, as long as the defined safety criteria are respected.

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People over 16 years old and weighing more than 50kg should inform themselves about the possibility of donating blood (Image: Reproduction/Pressmaster/Envato Elements)

Below, we share a manual of tips and guidelines that the Canaltech prepared for those interested in donating blood, but do not know where to start.

What does it take to donate blood?

  • The person needs to be in good health and not suspected of any disease;
  • Be between 16 and 69 years old, as long as the first donation has been made until 60 years old. In the case of minors, it is necessary to bring an authorization form validated by the guardians;
  • Weigh not minimum 50kg;
  • Be rested. In other words, the person needs to have slept at least 6 hours in the last 24 hours;
  • Be fed. Here, it is important to emphasize that fatty foods must be avoided in the 4 hours before the donation;
  • It is mandatory to bring an original document with a recent photo, which allows the identification of the potential donor.

What prevents me from temporarily donating blood?

  • Women who are pregnant, who have recently given birth or who are breastfeeding;
  • Who drank any type of alcoholic beverage in the 12 hours prior to donation;
  • Who had tattoos, permanent makeup and micropigmentation in the last 12 months, which can be reduced to 6 months in some cases;
  • People who have gone through situations in which there is a greater risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases must wait 12 months;
  • Anyone who has undergone any endoscopic procedure (upper digestive endoscopy, colonoscopy, rhinoscopy, etc.) in the past 6 months;
  • A person who has had a tooth removed or who has had a root canal in the last 7 days. In cases of dental surgery with general anesthesia, the period is increased to 4 weeks;
  • Anyone who performs acupuncture needs to wait at least 24 hours;
  • The person who has anemia.

The issue of covid-19 and flu vaccines

After being vaccinated against the flu or covid, you need to wait a few days to donate blood (Image: Reproduction/Micens/Envato Elements)

After receiving any vaccine, it is necessary to wait to be able to make the donation as well, and each immunizing agent requires its own time and must be checked in advance. In the case of the flu (influenza) vaccine, the waiting period is 48 hours.

For covid-19 vaccines, each one can have a specific minimum time, namely:

  • 48 hours after receiving a dose of CoronaVac (Sinovac/Butantan);
  • 7 days after receiving a dose from Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca/Fiocruz), ComnRNAty (Pfizer/BioNTech) or Janssen.

attention to illnesses

Now, the donation can be temporarily prevented when the person is diagnosed with some illness or when the individual visits some region where there is a high prevalence of some illness.

In the case of confirmed diseases, it is necessary to wait 7 days after the symptoms of a cold, for example. To the covid-19, the candidate is considered unfit for a period of 30 days, after complete clinical recovery (asymptomatic). Anyone who has had contact with a covid patient must wait 14 days.

Now to labial or genital herpes, the person will only be able to donate after the lesions have completely disappeared. Already, in case of Herpes Zoster, it is necessary to wait at least 6 months for the cure.

In case of passing through any region with an outbreak of yellow fever, you must wait for at least 30 days before donating blood. Now, who has been to places where there is a high prevalence of malaria, must also wait at least 30 days, but this period can reach up to 12 months.

List of definitive impediments to donation

  • Persons under the age of 16 or over 69 years. However, those who are 61 years of age or older and who have never donated are unfit. That’s because the upper limit for the first donation is 60 years;
  • Clinical or laboratory evidence of infectious diseases that are transmitted by blood, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV infection, diseases associated with HTLV I and II viruses, and Chagas disease;
  • Hepatitis case after age 11, with some exceptions for Hepatitis A;
  • Use of illicit injectable drugs;
  • Malaria picture;
  • Anyone who has had any type of cancer, including leukemia;
  • Patient who is diabetic with vascular complications or taking insulin;
  • Person who has undergone organ or bone marrow transplantation;
  • People with Parkinson’s Disease.

It is worth mentioning that, in May 2020, the STF dropped the restriction on blood donation by homosexuals. In addition, the Senate approved a bill earlier this month that prohibits discrimination against blood donors based on sexual orientation. Now the PL 2.353/2021 must proceed to the appreciation of the Chamber of Deputies.

In case you still have any doubts, it’s worth checking through social networks or by calling the place where the donation will be made. Thus, any frustration can be avoided.

Post-blood donation care

Being hydrated before and after blood donation is essential, which can be done by drinking water (Image: Reproduction/Engin akyurt/Unsplash)
  • It is recommended to wait at the collection point for about 15 minutes. This is because that is a safe place and, if you have any indisposition, you can be attended to by specialists;
  • Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed on that day;
  • Smoking for at least 2 hours is not recommended;
  • Avoid intense physical exertion for at least 12 hours;
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

While the person is recovering, the donation process is not yet over, but the next steps are carried out exclusively by local professionals. This is because the blood collected will undergo a series of tests, such as checking for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, HTLV, Chagas disease and syphilis.

If any of these diseases are identified, she will be notified and will have to undergo a new test to confirm the diagnosis. In these cases, the blood will not be used for transfusions, maintaining the risk-free quality standard of donations

When can I donate again?

Blood donations cannot be made weekly or monthly as the body takes time to replenish the amount that was donated. For example, replacement of plasma volume occurs within 24 hours and replacement of red blood cells takes, on average, 4 weeks.

However, for the body to reach the same level of iron stores as it did before the donation, it takes at least 8 weeks for men and 12 weeks for women. Thus, minimum intervals for donation were established:

  • Women need to respect a 90-day interval between donations. A maximum of 3 donations is allowed per year;
  • Men have a minimum break of 60 days. Per year, you can donate 4 times.

Where to find a place to donate?

To donate blood, just look for blood collection units, such as blood centers or hospitals close to your residence — it is always important to check if the place actually collects donations. It is still an option to search for information on social networks in the state where you live, especially in the local Health Departments.

The National Registry of Voluntary Bone Marrow Donors (Redome), of the National Cancer Institute (Inca), is a database with information on possible donors for those who need bone marrow transplantation. But they also group some blood centers in the country, where donations can be made. It is possible to consult by zip code or by state, by clicking on here.

What is it like to donate blood for the first time?

Donating blood can save lives and national banks need donations (Image: Reproduction/Pressmaster/Envato Elements)

We donate blood and tell you how it went

Reporter’s Note: this week and I made my first blood donation. I’ve always been afraid to donate and the list of demands—I admit it—has scared me a little. Here, my advice is to check the items and see if you are ready to donate, before you even go to a collection center or schedule an appointment online.

My donation was made at the Blood Center in São Paulo, Pró-Sangue, at Posto das Clínicas. During the screening phase I underwent a thorough interview—they asked about my substance abuse and my sexual behavior—my blood pressure and temperature were taken, and I also took a rapid anemia test. If any risk was observed, at this time, the donation would be canceled, as it could affect the health of those who would receive the blood.

As for the experience itself, it was very smooth and better than I imagined. I can say that it is very similar to a regular blood test, except that the collection takes a little longer — somewhere between 10 or 15 minutes, sitting or lying down in the stretcher chair. In fact, the amount of blood donated is also greater than that of blood collected in routine tests, with bags with a maximum capacity of 450 ml per donation. Afterwards, I even received a snack kit, while waiting for the 15-minute break to leave.

Today, I have already decided to make a second donation when I can, and I intend to make it a habit. In this case, a habit that can save lives.

Source: Pro-Blood e Ministry of Health

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