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Save lives, half a litre at a time

In the spirit of today's blood drive sponsored by IRRI, the Rotary Club of West Bay, and the Philippine National Red Cross, here are some useful tidbits to make blood donating less intimidating:

Do you qualify?
  1. Are you in good health?
  2. Are you between 16 and 65 years old?
  3. Do you weigh at least 110 lbs (49.9 kg)?
  4. Is your blood pressure normal? The acceptable range is: systolic = 90–160 mmHg; diastolic = 60–100 mmHg.
If you answer YES to all these questions, prepare for the blood donation.

Before donating blood...
  1. Have enough sleep.
  2. Do not drink alcohol a day before donating.
  3. Do not take medications a day before donating.
  4. Eat before donating, but avoid fatty food.
  5. Drink lots of fluids.
On blood donation day...
  1. Answer the donor registration form.
  2. Pass the physical exam. Blood pressure, pulse and weight are measured. 
  3. Pass the blood test. This includes blood typing and assessment of hemoglobin.
  4. Congratulations! Sit back and relax while a phlebotomist begins taking blood from you. It takes about 10 minutes to get 450 cc of whole blood.
  5. After the extraction, enjoy the munchies and the drinks while the doctor observes your reaction post-donation. If you turn pale while eating, the doctor will make you sit (or lie down, if a mattress is available) for a few more minutes.
After the blood donation...
  1. Drink lots of fluid.
  2. Avoid strenuous activities (lifting heavy objects, driving vehicles, operating machinery, etc.).
  3. Avoid overworking the punctured arm.
  4. If you feel dizzy, lie down and elevate your feet.
  5. In case of bruising at the site of the puncture, apply a cold compress for 24 hours and then a hot compress for the next 24 hours.
Whole blood extraction can be performed every three months. 

The Philippine Red Cross issues donor cards (colour-coded for each blood type) where your blood type and the details of your donation are indicated. These cards can be given to people who need to withdraw blood from the Red Cross blood bank. 

A great way to save lives, right?

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