Science & Technology

Why Should You Donate Blood

Most of the readers of this paper will be fairly healthy young students. We live our lives not worrying about terrible accidents or horrible diseases that can affect anyone. Usually we don’t think about our own mortality but what we can do is help others out when they are in the most need. We can do this by donating blood through the Canadian Blood Services. The closest blood donation clinic is on 94 Bridgeport Road East in the Walmart-Sobeys plaza.

Blood and blood products are a critical part of everyday medical care including major surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatments, and managing disease. Some of the causes you can help with when you donate blood is heart surgery, leukemia, car crash victims, and aplastic anemia. People may need multiple transfusions, and/or daily platelet and plasma transfusions. Blood has no substitutes; it cannot be replaced with animal blood or be manufactured. By donating blood, you can save the lives of up to three people, make a difference in your community, and ensure that adequate supplies or blood are available for you, your loved ones, and everyone else. There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use.

There are different components of blood that can help different situations: red blood cells are used in emergencies, during surgery, and to help people having cancer treatment. Platelets are used to treat people with bleeding disorders and cancer patients. Plasma is used to treat people undergoing extensive surgery, trauma patients, and patients with liver failure.

For first time donors, it is important to be in good general health, feeling well, and be able to perform your normal activities. You must be at least 17 years old and if you are between 17 to 23 years old you must meet the Canadian Blood Services height and weight requirements.

The donation itself is only 8 to 10 minutes long and afterwards, you will be able to enjoy refreshments to allow your body time to adjust to the slight decrease in fluid volume. Free cookies and juice under a nurse’s supervision are the result of your gift of blood. After giving blood, you should look after yourself for the rest of the day and drink plenty of fluids. You will also want to avoid strenuous activity for 6 to 8 hours.  You can return to donate blood every 56 days for males and every 84 days for females.

Another method of helping out is to donate platelets. Through the process of apheresis, platelets and other specific blood components are collected from a donor. The process is accomplished using a machine called a cell separator. Blood is drawn from the donor, the platelets or another blood components are collected by the cell separator, and the remaining components of blood are returned to the donor during the donation. This donation process doesn’t take long, from one and a half hour to two hours. One of the benefits of donating platelets that you can donate every fourteen days.

By donating blood, you give the gift of life to up to three people. It is a very easy process and does not take that much time out of your day to help out. There are some people who cannot donate blood although they are completely healthy, but if you are able to help, you should do it. The University of Waterloo offers blood donation services in the Student Life Centre on certain days. The next blood drive on campus will be held in the Fall 2017 term, from September 27th through to September 29th. If you can donate, then come on out!

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