Strict con­di­tions for giv­ing blood

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Health -

In­di­vid­u­als with O neg­a­tive is gen­er­ally known as the uni­ver­sal donors and can give blood to any­one, and those with AB pos­i­tive are gen­er­ally known as the uni­ver­sal re­ceivers and can re­ceive blood from any other type. This is re­versed when it comes to plasma.

How­ever, Sealy said blood had a shelf life and could not be stored in­def­i­nitely. In ad­di­tion, she said blood was made up of dif­fer­ent com­po­nents, most of which could be ex­tracted and stored sep­a­rately as needs de­mand.

“Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets. We can ex­tract platelets and plasma sep­a­rately but while whole blood can be stored for 35 days, platelets can only be stored for five days and plasma can be frozen for a year.

“We should al­ways have at least one or two units of ev­ery blood type avail­able but if we do not, then we have a pool of vol­un­teer donors we can call on short no­tice. We need more of these vol­un­teers,” she said.

Not ev­ery­one can give blood though, as those with dis­eases such as hepati­tis and HIV are on the per­ma­nent de­fer­ral list. Those with poly­cythaemia – too many red blood cells which can re­sult in high blood pres­sure – and hemochro­mato­sis – which re­sults in un­usu­ally high lev­els of iron in the blood – are re­quired to give blood reg­u­larly as part of their treat­ment. How­ever, Sealy said this blood was not stored, but in­stead dis­carded.

In ad­di­tion, peo­ple with fresh tat­toos and/or pierc­ings – within the past year – and those suf­fer­ing with blood pres­sure or even ex­hibit­ing a high tem­per­a­ture are not al­lowed to give blood although Sealy said once some­one had their blood pres­sure un­der con­trol with med­i­ca­tion, it was okay to give. She also said di­a­bet­ics on in­sulin were in­el­i­gi­ble.

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