Give blood, give life

2016-10-13 06:00


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EVERY day thousands of people would die if others did not donate blood. By donating blood, you are giving a patient something money cannot buy and science cannot create.

A single blood donation can equal three gifts of life, as nearly every blood donation is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

The majority of transfusions are given to:

• women who haemorrhage as a complication of pregnancy;

• children with severe anaemia;

• accident victims; and

• surgical and cancer patients.

By donating blood you make a difference.

Who can donate blood?

Anyone who is over 17, weighs at least 50 kilograms and who has not donated blood in the preceding 56 days, who is healthy, not anaemic, not on certain types of medication, or whose social behaviour does not place them at an increased risk of transmitting the HI-virus or a hepatitis virus. People who have recently travelled to malaria areas are usually also excluded.

Before you can donate blood, you will be asked about your lifestyle, personal details and medical history. These questions are asked to make sure that it is medically safe for you to donate blood and that the person who receives your blood, will not be harmed in any way.

A finger prick test is done to determine your haemoglobin levels and your blood pressure and pulse rate will also be checked. If everything is in order, you will donate about 480ml of blood, which will take between six and 10 minutes.

The average person contains about five litres of blood, which is continuously replaced. Donating blood is thus not usually a problem. It is not possible to contract any disease by giving blood. - South African National Blood Service.

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