World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the 14th of June each year.
As per the WHO, this day was created,
- To raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion.
- It helps to highlight the contribution voluntary and unpaid blood donors make to the health systems of nations.
- In order to provide support to the national blood transfusion services, blood donor organisations and other non-governmental organisations to strengthen and expand their blood donation programmes by boosting national and local campaigns.
Who is eligible to be a blood donor?
As per the National Blood Transfusion Council, any healthy adult between the ages of 18 to 65 years can donate blood. Here are a few requirements for potential blood donors:
- They should weigh over 45 kilograms.
- Should have a normal temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure levels.
- Their haemoglobin levels should be above 12.5 grams.
- Shouldn’t have any infections or medical conditions such as cancer, uncontrolled diabetes etc.
- They shouldn’t be lactating.
- No tattoo or acupuncture in the last 12 months.
How does nutrition play a role in all of this?
As important as it is to donate blood, it is equally important to monitor your health and nutritional status before the process. Good nutrition helps you maintain your blood health both before and after blood donation. It keeps you healthy and accelerates recovery.
Here are a few quick and easy nutrition and lifestyle tips for first-time blood donors.
- Include iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy in the diet to maintain the iron stores in the body.
- Pair vitamin C-rich foods such as lemon juice, tomatoes, oranges, bell peppers etc. with iron-rich foods for better iron absorption.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeinated drinks as they act as iron blockers.
- Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated to reduce the risk of a drop in blood pressure. Consume at least 500ml of water before donating blood.
- Eat healthy snacks like nuts and oil seeds.
- Consumption oily and deep-fried food should be avoided, since a blood sample high in fat cannot be tested for infection.
- Do not donate blood on an empty stomach.
- Always get a good night’s sleep before blood donation and remember to get an ample amount of rest post-donation to prevent weakness.
- Avoid strenuous activity as it may increase the risk of dizziness and fainting. Take it easy for some time.
- If you’re an athlete and want to donate blood, plan for it during the off-season. After donation, the body works towards regenerating the lost blood. In athletes, this might take from four to six weeks.
“Every blood donor is a life saver”