Social media platforms have been flooded by the appeals of patients and their relatives for blood donation, amid the second wave of coronavirus in India. The government, in its guidelines, has clarified who can and cannot donate blood.
Are you even eligible to donate blood? Who should refrain from donating blood?
On World Blood Donor’s Day, here’s a look at how exactly you can help.
I was infected with COVID-19. Can I donate blood?
Yes, you can. The guidelines say you can donate blood 14 days after your two-week isolation and treatment, if infected with COVID-19.
I have received my first shot of vaccine against COVID-19. When can I donate blood?
You can donate blood two weeks after receiving your first jab. The same rule applies for donation after the second dose of vaccine.
I have never donated blood. But what are the rules if I want to donate now?
- Anyone above 18 years of age is allowed to donate blood
- They should weigh above 45 kg and should not be sick with any kind of bacterial, fungal or viral infection at the time of donation
I am pregnant. Can I donate blood?
No. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are not allowed to donate blood in India.
Will I be tested for COVID-19 before donating blood?
You will not be tested for COVID-19 before donating blood. However, your temperature will be checked and all standard procedures will be followed.
Who else must refrain from donating blood?
- Those who have come in contact with a COVID positive case or is suspected to have contracted COVID or someone who is under quarantine, must refrain from donating blood for 28 days.
- Individuals cannot donate blood for 28 days after departing from a country where there has been community transmission of coronavirus.
- Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 must wait until they recover completely, before donating blood.
How often can I donate blood?
The minimum time advised between two donations is three months. This gap helps blood regain the normal haemoglobin count.
But what happens if I test positive for coronavirus after donating blood?
If you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of donating blood, you must inform the blood camp authorities. The un-utilised blood should be discarded.
Can blood transfusion cause coronavirus?
There has been no reported case of any one contracting coronavirus during the blood donation or blood transfusion process. Medical organisations and the WHO have encouraged healthy people to continue donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I want to donate blood. Where can I get information about blood camps?
A 24*7 helpline service by Indian Red Cross is available and the numbers are 011-23359379, 93199 82104, 93199 82105. You can call on these numbers to donate blood or if you know someone who is in need.
You can also use the National Health Mission’s e-Rakt Kosh — an online portal that helps people find donation camps across the country and provides blood stock information. The portal will also provide you a pass to step out of your house, during lockdown, for blood donation.
Are there any particular protocols I must follow while donating blood?
- Not really. Blood collection centres must adhere to the norms of social distancing. You will be asked to maintain physical distance and use sanitiser.
- Donors are asked to wear masks, headcaps, gloves and shoe covers
- Doctors and nurses are to take proper protective measures (PPE)
- Every time the couch is cleaned with 1% Hypochlorite and a new couch sheet is used
- History of blood donors is taken on phone to confirm their fitness criteria