FAQs on Voluntary Blood Donation

Blood is the basis of life in a human being. The average human body holds about 4-5 liters of blood. We lose enormous quantities of blood when affected by some diseases, accidents or surgery. A person may lose his life if 20-30% of blood is lost from his body and is not immediately replaced blood for the lost blood. The main components of blood are plasma, red corpuscles, white corpuscles and platelets. Depending upon the need, one or more of these components are infused into the patient’s body.

The importance of blood donation
The body’s functioning can only be normalized with more human blood in cases where substantial loss of blood has occurred due to accidents or surgery. But spare blood can only be preserved for a maximum of 35 days. Therefore voluntary blood donation becomes essential. A person is also compelled to receive blood donation in instances of excessive bleeding during delivery, platelet reducing diseases like the dengue fever, blood cancer and general deficiency of blood.

Are there people who should never donate blood?
Carriers of hepatitis B/C and HIV, people suffering from heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes, those who are undergoing treatment for mental disorders, patients suffering from epilepsy, cancer, liver disorders, must not donate blood.

How often can a person donate blood?
One can donate blood once in three months. In the case of females, in the menstruating age they can donate once in 4 months.

Are there any bad effects in donating blood?
Blood donation is a completely safe activity. One need not fear anything when donating blood through blood banks approved by the government. Since the body soon makes up for the donated blood the donor does not feel any fatigue or other illness. In fact, blood donation encourages the body to produce new blood components fast. Only completely sterilized, germ-free needles are to be used for bleed. The donor need only rest for a short period and a light snack.

How can we ensure that the donated blood is safe?
As far as possible accept blood only from voluntary donors. It may be dangerous to receive blood from professional donors. Infuse the donated blood to the patients only after making sure it is infection free.

Can a patient donate blood in advance before a surgery?
If the person is healthy, his own blood can be collected in advance, and used during his/her surgery.

What are the advantages of donating ones own blood?
Ones own blood is the safest option. By using ones own blood chances of getting any infection or allergy can be eliminated.

What should we do to ensure adequate supply of blood belonging to various groups in the blood bank?
Encourage voluntary blood donation.

Where can one donate blood?
One can donate blood at licensed blood banks and in organized blood donation camps. Only Government blood banks and blood banks designated as Regional Blood Transfusion services and blood banks run by charitable societies such as Indian Red Cross Society can conduct the blood donation camps. These blood banks have the facilities to collect blood from healthy donors, make the necessary tests, to build up a supply of good quality blood and supply it to patients according to their needs. At present there are 33 blood banks run by the government and 108 blood banks owned private and seven in the Co-operative sector, in the state. Besides there are blood storage centers, which have the facilities to collect and supply blood to hospitals outside the urban limits.

What should one do to donate blood and to encourage it among others?
You can register your name with the ‘blood donor forum’ attached to your nearest hospital. Voluntary donors will be given special blood donor cards. Donors holding such cards are enabled to receive blood very easily, if the need arises.

What is a blood donor forum?
Blood donor forums are places in hospitals, offices, private establishments, clubs etc. where the names and addresses of prospective donors are collected and kept.

Directory and website of blood donors
A district wise directory of donors belonging to different blood groups in the state will soon be published by the Kerala State AIDS Control Society. To register your name in the directory, send details like your name, address, age, phone number and blood group to the Kerala State AIDS Control Society, Thiruvananthapuram - 695035. The words ‘Blood donor directory’ should be written on the envelope. Prospective voluntary donors can also register their names through the website www.keralablood.com The public can avail of the details regarding the names and addresses of voluntary donors when they are in need of blood.