There are many myths and taboos regarding donating blood. It really is an activity that brings many benefits and few risks. Here we present the steps and requirements to donate blood in El Salvador.
Historically and since ancient times, a myriad of properties of a magical, curative order have been attributed to blood.Since the belief that the entry of blood into our body has healing characteristics, man before reaching the transfusion considered that the intake blood could heal your body and gain strength.
A process called Bleeding where through bleeding it was intended to eliminate from the body, by means of phlebotomies, leeches or suction cups, all the malignant humors that caused diseases.
Later, the discovery of blood circulation represented an important step towards attributing and understanding the true effects and role of blood in the physiology of the body. And so the doctors and people in charge of curing began to think that not only had to eliminate the blood that was «damaged» but also that it was necessary to replace it.
Although the process of creating instruments and mechanisms was quite complicated, also involving judicial mechanisms that prohibited these practices, experimentally, tests and attempts with animals continued with the aim of achieving a form less invasive and painful to remove small amounts of blood and replace it with another.
Certainly science has come a long way in its search and today we have the possibility of being donors and recipients of blood without losing its composition and clotting, as well as the ability through well-proven procedures to break it down (albumin, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, plasma, among others) to obtain from it exactly what the diseased body needs.
Requirements to donate blood
It is important that you bear in mind the following requirements when you decide to donate blood to qualify if you are a qualified donor for the task and you are in optimal condition.
- Be between 18 and 65 years old
- Minimum weight 50 Kg.
- Not be sick the day you go to the donation
- Not having suffered from Hepatitis type B, type C, HIV-AIDS, Syphilis, etc.
- Not having multiple sexual partners
- Not having received organ transplants
- Not suffering from epilepsy, tuberculosis, severe heart disease or cancer
- Do not use intravenous or inhaled drugs
- Not have been admitted to penal or mental institutions
- Women, not pregnant or nursing
- In the last 12 months, not having had tattoos, piercings, acupuncture, transfusions, catheterizations, endoscopies or sexual contact with strangers.
- In the last 6 months, not having had surgery, major accident, mononucleosis, toxoplasmosis or meningitis. In the case of women, not having had childbirth, cesarean section or abortion.
- In the last 28 days, have not traveled to areas with epidemiological outbreaks or have received any of the following vaccines: tuberculosis, polio, measles, rubella, mumps, yellow fever, cholera or influenza. Donors who have received tetanus or diphtheria toxoid are accepted.
- In the last 12 hours, not having ingested alcoholic beverages, narcotics, marijuana or any narcotic.
You can also donate blood if you are in these conditions:
- You had type A hepatitis before age 10
- If you are a woman taking contraceptives or having a menstrual period
- If you are diabetic, you do not use insulin and it is controlled.
- If you suffer from high blood pressure and it is controlled.
- If you are a health professional and you do not have risk factors for acquiring an infectious disease associated with the care of your patients.
Remember that all the conditions previously presented will be put to the test, so you must answer with total sincerity if your intention is to help others. The blood will be processed and corroborated before being administered to another person, so it will be known whether or not you lied in the forms and questions that will be asked before proceeding with the extraction.
However, if you have a condition that prevents you from donating and you are not aware of it; The institution in which you carry out the blood donation procedure has the ethical responsibility to contact you to let you know that you suffer from a certain condition.
Documents to donate blood
To donate blood the only document you will need is your DUI. In addition to knowing what your RH factor is, with it you will discover what your blood type is, as to which people you can donate, to what not and what are the possible types of blood that can serve as donors if necessary in the future.
There are four types of blood: A, B, AB, O
Some people have an additional marker, called RH factor, in the blood. Each blood type may or may not have the RH factor, which is also classified as «positive» (meaning it has the RH factor) or «negative» (without the RH factor).
Having any of these markers (or none of them) does not make a person’s blood healthier or stronger than others. They are nothing more than genetic differences, such as having brown eyes instead of green or straight hair instead of curly.
In this sense, it is important to know that not all blood types are compatible with each other. There is a scheme that has been universally disseminated to know which are the matches that can be made between donors and recipients depending on their blood type and RH factor.
- AB + people They are the ones that have it the best, because they can receive blood from all groups (but they can only donate to people in the same group).
- Group O- It works just the opposite: you can donate to all groups but you can only receive blood that is O-.
- If your HR is positive, You can receive both positive and negative blood (but you can only donate to people with a positive RH).
- If your HR is negative, You can only receive negative blood (but you can donate to people with both HR negative and positive).
Steps to donate blood
Here are the steps you must follow to become a blood donor:
- Present an official credential (DUI) with a photograph, that is, your Unique Identity Document.
- Personally answer the medical history questionnaire (duration 10 minutes).
- Sign the Medical Record, the Privacy Notice and the Letter of Informed Consent for the extraction of blood or blood components.
- Your data will be entered into the electronic system of the Blood Bank.
- You will be interviewed by a doctor and given a brief physical examination (15 minutes).
- If the medical evaluation is accepted, some blood samples will be taken to verify that the candidate is in adequate condition to donate blood or blood components. (15 minutes).
- If the pre-donation studies are approved, the blood will be drawn, the approximate time is:
- Whole blood donation: 15 minutes
- Platelet donation: 90 minutes
- Snack (10 minutes)
Note: Times may vary depending on the influx of donors to the Blood Bank.
Before donating blood
Once the decision to donate blood has been made, it is important to decide in which center or blood bank you want to go to make the donation. It is also important to review the requirements and conditions that the donor must go through, so you will be sure that your effort will be profitable. Take your DUI with you and go with someone you trust who can be there for you in case you break down. Consider if you come by car, that the person who accompanies you to make the donation knows how to drive.
During the donation
During the donation try to remain calm and confident. The people who will attend you are in full use of their skills and knowledge. Verify that all the implements you use are brand new and sterilized. If looking at the blood causes you discomfort, try not to see the needle and the contents at the time of extraction, there are usually televisions in the room to that you can be distracted in the moment.
After donating blood
Try not to get up too quickly from the chair where it has been done where you are sitting to perform the extraction. You may find yourself dizzy and getting up early can cause decompensation and you may even pass out, go easy!
In most Blood Banks they usually give a small snack to donors, it is a good idea to consume food after the donation that can replenish you and give you energy to avoid decompensation resulting from the extraction.
It is also recommended that the person who accompanied you acts as a monitor of whether you are feeling good or bad in case you need assistance. If you came in a private vehicle, let your companion drive; it is better and safer to put someone at the wheel with all of his alerting resources activated.
It is recommended that you stay at least 15 minutes after the extraction. If you are going to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke cigarettes, it is recommended that you wait even 2 hours. During that day in which you donated blood, it is highly recommended to avoid any type of intense and sustained physical activity such as sports or major physical effort.
Who cannot donate blood?
- You are fasting. Surely you are used to doing your fasting blood tests, but to donate you need to eat something beforehand. It is important, what you decide to eat is not rich in fat, because they make it difficult for the different elements of the blood to separate correctly in the laboratory.
- You weigh less than 50 kilos. The bags used to store blood are 450 cc, just the maximum amount that can be removed from a person weighing 50 kilos without harming their health. So if you weigh less you will not be able to donate, it is more a practical matter.
- You recently got a tattoo. If less than 4 months have passed, they will not let you donate blood. It is the reasonable time that is allowed to rule out a possible infection. The same happens if you have done a piercing or if in the last 4 months you have had sex with more than one partner.
- You are over 60 years old and have never donated. If you have already given blood before reaching them, after 65 years a doctor must authorize you to continue being a donor.
- You are pregnant, you have just given birth or are breastfeeding. For your body to recover as well as possible, you must wait six months after delivery and also after breastfeeding.
- You are taking antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to fight certain infections. To avoid a possible contagion through donation, it is required that at least 15 days have passed after taking the drugs. And the same happens if you have had a fever.
- Your tension is out of control. Hypertensive people can donate (whether they are medicated or not), but at the time of donation they must have correct levels (between 50 and 110 low, and between 90 and 180 high).
- You are diabetic and you take insulin. If you take oral drugs to regulate glucose, you can donate.
- You cannot donate if you have an infectious disease that can be transmitted through the blood (HIV, Hepatitis B or C). And not if you suffer from epilepsy or a chronic disease.
Where should I go in El Salvador to donate blood?
If you are interested in donating your blood, you can approach the Salvadoran Red Cross Blood Center, from Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm and Saturdays until noon.
Previously in El Salvador there were multiple blood banks where you could approach and make your donation. Today, donation channeling has been implemented through the Salvadoran Red Cross in order to have the precision and centralization of resources to respond more effectively to the demand of the people who need it.
We provide you with its website in case you want to know more about the function and work carried out by this organization in El Salvador http://www.cruzrojasal.org.sv/
How much blood can be donated?
Each person is willing to donate 450cc without generating health risks. This amount was considered for a practical purpose, although people who weigh more than 50kg can donate a little more blood, the bags provided for collection allow that amount. This is because for people with a minimum weight to be considered and accepted as donors, they are only in the physical disposition to donate those 450cc.
How often can blood be donated?
Regarding the times in which men and women can donate blood per year, we find the following: men can donate blood a maximum of 4 times a year while women only 3.
It is important that at least two months pass between each donation, that will give your body the chance to recover and replace what was lost.
Benefits of donating blood
Many are the myths regarding blood donation. Some believe donating blood makes you fat, or that only men can. It is also a belief that generates sexual impotence or that you can contract a disease. All these precepts are false. Donating blood does not generate weight gain, women can also make donations, it does not generate impotence and all the equipment and implements used are sterilized so the possibility of contracting diseases is nil.
Rather, donating blood offers endless benefits that we will discuss shortly:
Allows you to help balance your blood iron levels, iron helps to have a better athletic performance and can be used to treat Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity (ADHD) and increases different cognitive functions such as reasoning ability, learning and memory.
Improves blood flow, this allows adequate irrigation of our entire body. This also usually happens when we do physical exercise such as swimming. This increase in blood flow translates into improvements in faculties such as memory, in the ability to be focused on a task and also improves our mood.
Check, donating blood allows you to perform a kind of audit on your hemoglobin levels, monitor your blood pressure, temperature. It also helps you to check if you have a disease such as HIV or hepatitis.
Decreases the likelihood of developing cancer, excess iron in the blood can be an indicator of abnormalities around malignant cells. There is a relationship between blood levels and cancer, which with regular donations can help balance iron levels.
You get emotional satisfaction, Normally people who need blood transfusions are seriously ill or going through unprofitable situations, altruistically and disinterestedly considering being a blood donor will certainly contribute to the recovery of someone whose health is affected, in some way you are helping to save one life Imagine the results and contributions that would be achieved if more people decided to donate blood! Who knows if at some point a loved one or even yourself might need a transfusion?
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