Today the world celebrates Donor Day. The World Health Organization established this holiday in 2005; June 14 is the birthday of the immunologist, infectious disease specialist and Nobel laureate Karl Landsteiner, whose discoveries formed the basis of the modern classification by blood types.
Motivator talked to people who regularly donate blood about how to prepare, what restrictions it imposes and what it means personally for them.
How it all started
Anna Malitskaya, masseuse, student of the Adaptive Physical Education / Yoga Therapy course at ITSO, certified therapist according to the Mackenzie method, blood donor with four years of experience
The first time I donated blood was about four years ago. From time to time I came across information about donation, but either it was necessary to donate to some victim and urgently, or with statements that all these irregular donations were useless, and you need to be a donor regularly, or that you need a registration to donate blood.
But one day a friend told me that she was going to take it, and offered to go together. Here I already sat down and read the donor.ru portal in detail, after which I went to the National Research Center for Hematology of the Ministry of Health of Russia. And my girlfriend overslept and didn’t come at all.
Anonymous, five minutes to an honorary donor who did not wish to disclose his name
The first time I donated blood was when I was almost 19 years old; 14 years ago. The employees of the blood transfusion station perceive me as a regular donor, because they often see me, although I don’t go all the time: I can take a break a year, or donate twice a year, or I can, as it were, stand on the rails and go to donate plasma once every two weeks , 6-8 times in a row.
In total, I donated blood 55 times; I’m not an honorary donor yet, but I’m on the finish line to this title (to become an honorary donor of Russia, you need to donate blood and components 60 times — WB.Motivator).
Why do you donate blood? What is the meaning for you personally?
In general, I feel like a fairly healthy person, maybe even healthier than many.
Donation is, first of all, such a social step, a nod to society and at the same time the transfer of a resource that has not yet been learned to be made at factories and which is problematic to buy.
As a teenager, for some reason, I was sure that modern technologies had long come up with artificial compounds to replenish blood loss, but it turned out that they weren’t. I am very glad that free blood donation is still practiced in our country. Yes, there is some compensation for it, covering a good meal, but this again brings us back to the fact that this is not earnings and not the pursuit of benefits, but a sincere desire to help, and also who knows who. The donor does not know who will receive his blood or components. You will also receive a completely free test for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.
By donating blood, you can join the registry of bone marrow donors. Giving someone a chance at life is a big deal.
Why am I doing this? To feel good and well done. And it’s also such a wonderful quest: how many times are left until the honorable one? In Russia, a person with this title can count on free travel in transport and a 50% discount on rent, like a labor veteran (for Moscow; the exact list of benefits and the size of the discount for honorary donors depends on the region — WB.Motivator).
Recently, I moved from the station where I transfused for 14 years to another: now all stations accept only blood, and at the new one you can donate both plasma and platelets (components). To confirm your donation, you need to collect certificates from all the places where you have ever donated blood. And now I run to all the addresses where I once went, even for the company, because the stations still do not have a common base, they write down the results in cardboard folders.
I donated blood specifically once, in 2007, when a guy I knew had an accident. We then went to the Begovaya with the whole forum of shaggy metalworkers. It took a long time for the little one to be pulled out, they pulled him out, he survived, but became a wheelchair user; Recently someone from the forum went to drink beer with him.
What are the restrictions on donation?
The standard list of restrictions describes well when it is not necessary to go to donate blood; for each sneeze there is a medical tap with its own deadlines. Got a tattoo? A year without a donation. Removed a tooth? Month without donation. Seasonal allergies? We cross out almost six months.
Interestingly, different countries have different requirements. For example, in Russia, asthma is a ban on blood donation forever, but in the UK, if there is no attack, there is no problem. In Russia, if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, she is prohibited from donating for a year after the end of breastfeeding. In the American application for pregnant women, with a positive answer in the survey “do you donate blood”, a polite offer appears to take care right now, because it’s still a load on the body. But there is no ban! And there are plenty of such examples.
The only restriction that is not related to health, but rather to management: do not plan to donate blood if you are not ready to come and repeat it in six months, or at least just go to the same station and take their tests. Most of what is taken, especially from beginners, is plasma. She is frozen for six months, sent to quarantine, and six months later the same donor is checked for infections, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis. And only if these second tests are clean, your plasma will be taken to work.
Even the blood donated «under the accident / for Ivanov Vasya» is not transfused directly to Vasya; for it, the quarantined components will be taken from the existing bank, and what you handed over will be quarantined. If you do not show up in six months, your plasma will only be disposed of. Why then all this was?
I donate blood regularly on my own schedule, which mainly depends on the state of health and vacations. I also take into account that different institutions have different rules and the rules for delivery may differ; someone demands a residence permit, someone demands to sit for two days on rolls and jam, and someone just has an unpleasantly arranged donor block.
Plasma can be donated regularly. But after donating blood, I need to recover for two months, and maybe longer; hemoglobin is unpredictable.
There are rules that I made for myself. Nobody has ever given me a blood transfusion, because I have plans to move to England, and I learned that you cannot be a donor there if you have had a transfusion at least once in your life. And I want to continue there!
How to prepare for blood donation?
Diet requirements should always be checked with the specific location where you will donate blood. The basic ones are on the same “donor.ru” in the “Donor Diet” section, but different items are treated with varying degrees of rigor and pickiness. Basically two days on a diet high in carbs, low in fat and protein, and no smoking/alcohol/hard workouts.
If you donate blood not for the first time, and there is a chance of getting blood components taken, you need to think about the convenience of clothing. At the National Research Medical Center for Hematology, platelets take about two hours — two motionless hours in a chair, when you will inevitably start to freeze from the constant flow of fluids back and forth. Put on comfortable pants, warm socks, a jacket that you can cover yourself with and not freeze, and from which you can freely remove one hand. Take a book with you, or better, an audiobook: it’s inconvenient to scroll through the pages when you need to look at the device and follow its instructions.
Diet is my pain. Each transfusion point has its own rules in this regard, they are written on the websites of the stations. Some of the rules on the eve can not eat meat, others — you can. The station I used to go to has a very long no-list, and it’s 100% what I usually eat. You can’t have tomatoes in any form, you can’t have meat and dairy, you can’t have fat. Even cookies «Jubilee». This prohibition is explained by the fact that chylosis of the blood occurs from fatty foods, the blood becomes cloudy. And you can see it right away, right when you hand it over. In my presence, a nurse scolded a male donor: you, she says, violated the diet! I asked her: what is this, immediately visible? She: of course, immediately!
If I have set a date and decided that I am going, then I definitely go. You can donate blood if you haven’t had a drink for two days before. And if I have planned this Monday and have already signed up, it means that on Saturday morning I tell everyone “sorry, I’m not a drinker.” And I also have to keep a diet, give up everything that I usually eat. Signing up and not coming in this case will be just a shame!
Donor blood saves lives: it is necessary for those who have an accident and are injured, people with blood diseases, women in childbirth; it is used to make drugs. Today’s date is a good occasion to say «thank you» to the donors you know and learn more about donation.
If you would like to donate, please read the health requirements in your area carefully. There are so-called donor traffic lights — information about what blood type is required in your region right now. Study it, study the rules, and then your blood will benefit people.