What is Blood?

Blood is made up of four main components. Red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells. Each whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives.


Donation Methods
There’s more than one way to give blood. Let your blood type lead the way in targeting the best way for you to donate your powerful lifesaving gift.

1. Whole Blood Donation

Whole blood donation is what most people are familiar with. This is the traditional way of donating and allows us to draw a pint of blood containing red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma at one time.
People with O type blood and those with certain RH negative blood types are encouraged to donate whole blood.
*People with the following blood types should consider donating Whole Blood:
O-   O+  A-   A+   B-

*How Often Can You Donate Whole Blood?

Every 56 days for a total of 6 donations a year.


2. Double Red Cell Donation

When donating double red blood cells we only collect your red blood cells and not your platelets or plasma. This type of donation is done using a process called automation (sometimes referred to as apheresis).
Automated technology allows donors to give twice the amount of their red cells than compared to a whole blood donation.  Automation enables us to collect only the most needed component(s) of the donor’s blood.   Red blood cells are the most transfused blood product. People with O type blood and those with certain Rh negative blood types are encouraged to donate double red blood cells because it is their red cells that are in the highest demand by the hospitals.
People with the following blood types should consider donating Double Red Blood Cells:
O-   O+   A-    A+  B-

How often can I donate double red cells?

Every 112 days for a total of 3 donations a year.

3. Platelet Donation

Platelets hold a unique power to save lives. Cancer patients are a primary recipient of platelets due to the harsh effects of chemotherapy.
Platelet donations are done using a process called automation (sometimes referred to as apheresis). Automation allows us to collect specific components of your blood at a larger volume. For example, one automated platelet donation produces one or more complete platelet doses for a patient. It would take six to eight whole blood donors pooled together to produce one complete platelet dose.
People with the following blood types should consider donating Platelets.
A+  B+  AB-  AB+  O+    

How Often Can You Donate Platelets?

Every 7 days and can give up to 24 times a year.


4. Plasma Donation

Plasma has the clotting factors that stop patients from bleeding. Trauma patients, burn patients and transplant patients are often recipients of plasma.
Plasma is collected through a process called automation (sometimes referred to as apheresis). This technology enables us to collect plasma and/or plasma and platelets and not the donor’s red blood cells.
People with AB type blood are the universal plasma donors. This means their plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of the recipients’ blood type.
People with the following blood types should consider donating Plasma:
AB-    AB+      

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

Every 28 days and can give up to 12 times a year.


Can I Donate

Many potential blood donors believe that they can’t donate blood due to medical or other reasons. But whether you’ve heard or read information about donation restrictions or been turned down in the past, please do not self defer. You may be able to say “Yes I can!” and share your power through blood donation.

Anemia/Low Iron
Anemia is a condition that, if caused by low iron body reserves, can be corrected with a change in diet. Eating many types of red meat, fortified cereal and leafy green vegetables may help.

While many medications may prevent you from giving blood, you may still be able to donate while taking medications in the treatment of non-infectious diseases such as arthritis, chronic pain, gout, etc.

High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is under control, you may still be able to donate blood while taking most medications for high blood pressure.

If your diabetes is being treated and is under control, you are most likely able to donate blood. You should let your doctor know that you plan to donate.

Most localized skin cancers are not a reason to stop you from donating blood. Because many different types of cancer exist, we will ask you a few questions regarding your diagnosis, and in some cases the blood center medical director may make the final determination on the deferral. Most often, people who are free of relapse a year after completion of treatment are able to donate blood.

Blood donors who are18 years of age can donate blood . You are never too old to donate. If you are in good health, and qualify for other eligibility guidelines, you can donate blood regardless of age.

Surgery or Minor Illnesses
Donors are required to feel well at the time of donation, so a cold, flu or allergies may temporarily prevent someone from donating. Donors must wait at least 24 hours for many minor surgeries, including dental work. Donors should rely on our screening process to determine surgery or illness deferrals. Many times the blood center medical director may make this determination.


Blood Donation FAQs

Can I Donate?

To donate blood, you must be in good health, 18 years of age or older, and weigh a minimum of 45 Kgs

Does donating blood hurt?

You may feel a slight sting or a very minor pinch when the needle is first inserted. It is no different than the feeling you experience when having routine blood work performed.

How much blood is taken during a donation?

A whole blood donation is typically one pint of blood.

How long does the actual donation process take?

Whole blood donation takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Automated procedures can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.

Is there anything I should do before I donate?

•    Drink plenty of water prior to donating.
•    Eat a light healthy meal. Avoid fatty foods. Donating on an empty stomach is not recommended.
•    Eat iron rich foods a few days leading up to your donation. Your iron levels must be at a certain level in order to donate. .

If I was deferred in the past from donating, am I able to donate in the future?

It depends on the reason you were deferred. Some deferrals are temporary and others are permanent. For example, if a donor’s iron count is too low they would be temporarily deferred until they are able to get their iron levels into the necessary range by eating iron rich foods.

What should I bring when I donate?

On donation day, wear comfortable clothing, preferably with a short-sleeve shirt. Bring your ID and list of any medications you are taking.

Is there anything I should do after donating?

•    Drink plenty of water
•    Avoid alcohol for 24 hours
•    Avoid lifting heavy items and rigorous exercise for the remainder of the day

Can I contract a disease from donating blood?

No. There is no risk of contracting a disease through the donation process. Each collection kit is sterile, pre-packaged and only used once.

Can I donate if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, however your blood pressure at the time of donation must be below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Taking medication to control high blood pressure does not prevent you from donating blood.

Can I donate if I am taking aspirin or medication?

If you are taking aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or other NSAIDS, you can donate whole blood. However, you would not be eligible to donate platelets if you have taken any of these medications within 48 hours of your donation.


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