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What is Blood Donating?

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  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Blood donating is the procedure that occurs when someone volunteers to have blood drawn from his or her body. A person may choose to donate blood for a number of reasons. Blood transfusions use blood from donations, so healthy individuals may choose to give blood to those who are sick. With transfusions, blood types must match up, so a sick person may not be able to find the correct type of blood within his or her family and close friends. This is why blood donating often occurs from stranger to stranger.

Blood donations may also be used to develop new medicines, but donated blood has a short shelf life, so a fresh supply is always in demand. Healthy individuals are always encouraged to participate in donating blood because somebody needs blood every two to three seconds. Just one pint of donated blood can help up to three different people. Blood is usually donated in pints, and one pint equals 500 milliliters. This is referred to as a unit when blood donating is taking place.

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Blood donating can occur at doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, or blood drives. Often, a school, volunteer group or other charitable organization will host a blood drive. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to take the blood, but the physician in charge of the blood donating is responsible for monitoring the donor to ensure that he or she does not faint from the sudden loss of blood. People who give blood should eat and drink something immediately after the blood is taken. All donated blood undergoes blood tests to ensure that the donor does not have diseases such as HIV, viral hepatitis or syphilis.

An individual with anemia cannot donate blood because he or she has a lower red blood cell count than healthy donors. Additionally, a person must be 17 years old to donate, and those who weigh under 110 pounds (50 kg) should not give blood, as they would be more prone to fainting. Anyone who has recently gotten a piercing or tattoo must avoid blood donating as well, due to sterility issues. A hypovolemic reaction, a result of a rapid change in blood pressure, may follow a blood donation and cause the donor to faint, although such a reaction is unusual. Bruising and tingling in the lips are milder side effects that the donor may experience, and calcium supplements can ward off severe reactions.

Whether a person can donate blood depends on risk to the donor and hazard to the recipient. Donors must be in good overall health and free from any disease that could be transmitted through a transfusion. Blood results from the tests will determine any potential hazards to the recipients, and following this, blood donations can take place accordingly.

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