icyou's medical editor, Dr. Mona Khanna lays out the facts about blood donation.
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Rebecca Fox: Donating blood is often called the gift of life and for good reason it’s estimated every two seconds someone in the United Stated needs blood. However, only 5% of the US population gives blood any given year perhaps you’ve won to do it and for whatever reason you have it. ICYou’s medical editor Dr. Mona Khanna joins us now to layout the facts about blood donation. And Dr. Mona why should I give blood? Dr. Mona Khanna: Imagine this scenario Rebecca, and this is why everyone should give blood. You are in the hospital after a car accident you need blood and the doctor comes in it says, “I'm sorry we don’t have any available.” This is a simple reason why everybody who is able to donate should donate because the blood will be there for you when you need it. Now there’s four blood types A, B, AB and O. All of us are one of those blood types and given some restrictions most blood types can accept one or the other of blood that is available. So simple reason because it will be there for you when you need it. You need to reciprocate. Rebecca Fox: So who is eligible to donate? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, there are some restrictions you have to be at least 16 years old and some states, 17 and others, at least 110 pounds. You can only donate every four months or so. But the restrictions are mostly in terms of medical conditions, for example if you are a HIV positive or if you have hepatitis, you actually cannot donate blood it won’t be accepted. If you have had cancer and you’ve been treated you may or may not be able to donate blood. Some medical conditions are prohibited obviously, some aren’t, if you have heart decease as long it’s stable, you may be a little to donate blood. What happens is when you go in to the blood center to donate the blood you actually to fill up a questionnaire. Well, you have to answer these questions about—maybe you travel history and your vaccinations and if you feel I'll that day and what your medical conditions are and what medications you’re on. And based on the answers to those questions, it will be determined whether or not you are eligible to give blood. Now the most important thing is to go in and fill up the questionnaire. It’s not super time consuming and that most healthy people even if they are being treated from medical conditions still are able to donate blood. Rebecca Fox: Are there any risk to donating blood. Dr. Mona Khanna: There's really no risk, clean needles are used every time, clean bags are used every time to extract the blood so it’s not a situation of worrying about if there is any contamination that’s going to affect you. It’s a little bit of a pinch obviously when the needle goes in and some people might feel a little bit faint afterwards because after all a pint of blood is being taken out. Some people have fainted very rarely maybe having a stomachache. Blood centers are used to these very rare complications of donating blood they usually encourage you to have some water or some juice and some crackers after you donate blood. To stave off any of those side effects that happened. But in general giving blood is a very safe easy procedure. Rebecca Fox: You know some of my friends and I'm not going to say who. They say, “I can’t look at a needle. I don’t have the time.” Do you have any advice or tips to make a donating experience easier smooth as possible. Dr. Mona Khanna: You know there is actually blood donation centers all around the country and I remember once when I taught I didn’t have the time actually when and during my lunch break and donating blood can be as quick as 15-20 minutes. There are other elements of your blood that you can donate though it can take a longer period time such as platelets or plasma. But if you're just simple pack red blood cells, with the pine of blood, it can be a very quick and easy procedure and like I've said look for the blood donations centers that’s right around the corner from your workplace. Rebecca Fox: Dr. Mona thank you so mu