Things to Know When Donating Blood

Not all blood types can be transferred to one person. It is important to know what your blood type is and what you can do if you need a transfusion. 

Blood Type Donation 101: 

There are four blood types according to the ABO blood group system. These are Type A, B, AB and O. The difference in blood type is due to the combination of antigens and antibodies present in the blood. This is also the reason why blood compatibility is considered. 

People with blood type A have antigens A and B antibodies. If blood type B is given to this individual, the immune system gets fired up against the B antigen from the transfused blood. This means that those with blood type A can only receive blood types A & O, and not B & AB. 

For people with blood type B, they can be transfused with blood type O and B, but not A and AB. This is because this blood type has a B antigen and antibodies for blood type A. 
Blood type AB has A and B antigens and no antibodies. People with this blood type can be transfused with blood types A, B, AB, and O so they are the universal recipient. 
People with blood type O do not have antigens and have antibodies for blood types A and B. As a result, they cannot receive blood types A, B and AB. They can only receive blood type O, but they can donate all blood types. They are the so-called universal donor. It is estimated that 44-46% of Filipinos are type O. 

Things to Know Before Donating Blood 

  • About 350 to 500 ml of blood is drawn in one blood donation session. 
  • Lost blood can be replaced in three to four weeks. 
  • Blood donation is conducted within 25 minutes. 
  • A healthy person can donate blood every three months. 
  • Each unit of blood collected is examined before being transferred to the patient to determine if it is positive for HIV, Malaria, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C. 

You can be a blood donor if: 

  • In good health 
  • aged 16 to 65 years old. 
  • Weighs at least 110 pounds (50 kg). 
  • Blood pressure is between Systolic: 90-160 mmHg, Diastolic: 60-100 mmHg. 
  • Pulse rate is between 60-100 beats/minute with regular rhythm 
  • Passed physical and health history assessments. 
  • Hemoglobin on screening should at least be 125 g/L 

Things to Do Before and After Donating Blood 

Before donating blood, keep the following in mind: 

  • Sleep and rest well. 
  • Do not drink alcohol 24 hours before blood donation. 
  • Prior to donating, it is best to check if any of your medications or recently taken medications would prevent you from donating. Although most medications do not affect your eligibility to donate blood. 
  • Eat well before donating. Avoid fatty and greasy foods. 
  • Drink plenty of water before and after the donation. 

After donating blood, it is important to do the following: 

  • Rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Hydrate 
  • Put pressure on the area where the injection was given to prevent bleeding. Avoid lifting heavy objects first. If there is a bruise, apply a cold compress to the affected area during the first 24 hours. 
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities and lifting heavy objects. 
  • If you are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, lie down and put your feet up until the feeling passes. 

Benefits of Blood Donation 

  • Reduce harmful iron stores. 
  • Preserve cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that those who donated blood every 6 months to 1 year have a lower risk of heart attacks. 
  • Donating blood according to a study, can help burn approximately 650 calories. 

Anyone interested in donating blood may contact the Philippine Red Cross or inquire in the Blood Bank of hospitals near you.