Who needs donated blood?
Donated blood has a wide range of applications. It is necessary for patients with severe injuries, burns, as well as those in need of surgical interventions associated with profuse blood loss, for example, after severe road accidents. Transfusions are needed for many diseases of the hematopoietic system, such as leukemia or aplastic anemia. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy used in the treatment of malignant tumors lead to a drop in blood counts, and transfusions are often necessary for successful therapy. For some genetic diseases, such as thalassemia or Diamond-Blackfen anemia, transfusions may be required for life. Blood-derived drugs are needed to treat hemophilia. Blood is also necessary for certain diseases of the liver, kidneys, in the treatment of a number of severe infections, and so on. In certain cases, donated blood is needed for women in labor and newborns.
If donor blood is not enough, and such situations arise constantly, including against the backdrop of a pandemic, this means that doctors will have to make a difficult decision: who to transfuse blood and who does not. Due to the shortage of donated blood, surgery and chemotherapy courses have to be postponed. With a little time and effort to donate blood, you can literally save someone’s life.
Who can donate?
A potential donor must be at least 18 years old and weigh at least 50 kg, and also have no contraindications for transfusion. Thus, patients with HIV / AIDS, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, malignant neoplasms, mental illness, hearing and speech impairments cannot share blood. It is necessary to temporarily withdraw from donation for various periods after surgical interventions, including abortions, stay on business trips for more than two months, contacts with patients with hepatitis A, B and C. A complete list of temporary and absolute contraindications can be found here.
Note that in Russia the requirements for donors are much more stringent than in other countries. And some of our contraindications to donation practically never occur abroad. For example, the age limit is far from being tied to adulthood everywhere, as in our country: in the UK and the USA, you can become a donor at the age of 17, and with the permission of parents or guardians, even from 16. It is forbidden to donate blood in Australia and Spain do not have such bans. In Russia, any viral hepatitis excludes donation for life, while in some countries people who have had hepatitis A in childhood have the right to become donors.
You can get comprehensive information about donation on the Blood Service Internet portal – www.yadonor.ru. The blood donation hotline – 8-800-333-33-30 – works around the clock and the call within Russia is free. On the Donor Traffic Light portal, you can find out where the nearest center is located, which requires the blood of your group.
How do I know my blood type?
First, take a look at your medical record. For many, the blood group is prescribed in the form of a special code: I – 0 or 00; II – A or 0A; III – B or 0B; IV – AB. There you can also find the Rh factor, which is indicated by the letters Rh, and positive or negative is indicated as “+” or “-“.
If this information is not available, you can contact the local polyclinic and get tested for free. Such services are provided by any private laboratory – for money, of course.
By the way, in 1997, the Russian Government adopted a decree according to which a mark on the blood group and Rh factor can be entered into a citizen’s passport at his will.
An interesting fact: in the world, blood of the first group with a positive Rh factor is most often found, but in Russia the most common group is the second. And the least of all people with the fourth blood group and a negative Rh factor. In most countries, people with this group make up no more than 1 percent of the country’s population.
How does the donor benefit?
According to the law, on the day of blood donation, the donor is provided with free meals and two days off. Having donated two maximum allowable blood doses during the year, the donor has the right to receive a preferential voucher to a sanatorium at the place of work or study. After passing 60 donations, the volunteer receives a badge “Honorary Donor of Russia”, and along with it – an annual paid leave at a convenient time for him, the right to extraordinary medical care and an annual indexed payment, which in 2020 amounted to 14,570 rubles 36 kopecks.
In some regions, additional benefits are provided, and Moscow honorary donors are most fortunate – they are entitled to free travel on public transport, the manufacture and repair of dentures, as well as a 50% discount on utility bills and pharmaceuticals.
If we talk about health benefits, then at least donating blood up to 500 ml is absolutely safe, which is confirmed by numerous scientific studies. The recommended volume of one donation is 450 ml. In addition, donation is an opportunity to get rid of excess iron, which may increase the risk of developing certain cancers and myocardial infarction. A study in Finland showed that donors have an 88% lower risk of heart attack than those who have never given blood or who have done it once. Perhaps the reason is also that before donation, people undergo mandatory examination and tests, that is, they better control their health.