Marking June 14 as the World Blood Donation Day in honour of the millions of people who give blood—some regularly—in order to save lives, this year’s theme is “Share Life, Give Blood.”
Dr. Anuj Taneja in Dubai mentioned two important issues when interviewed on the relevance of donating blood.
First, the act of giving blood in order to save others is beneficial to both the donor and the recipient. However, the donor must be over age 16, in the pink of health, free from all forms of medication and all forms of infection such as fever and flu.
Second, the tattooed and those into other forms of body piercing procedures can donate blood but only after a year following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
According to the international body, 450 millilitres (ml) of blood can potentially save at least three lives. Six units of blood equivalent to 2,700 ml of blood is the requirement for each open heart surgery. It is estimated that victims of vehicular accidents need up to 100 units of blood or 45,000 ml of blood.
The dermatologist at Aster Clinic-Dubai Silicon Oasis said, “When donating blood, a donor should always have in mind that he/she is helping someone in need. Apart from physical health benefits like (knowing) potential health issues, blood donation is more like an act of volunteering (that makes) a difference in (others’ lives).
“Volunteering is particular has been proven to have positive psychological effects on (the) individual.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Aster Volunteers corporate social responsibility initiative launched in 2017 as part of the Aster DM Healthcare’s 30th anniversary has so far collected 10,400 units of blood.
The group aims at strengthening the campaign throughout the Gulf and the Philippines where they have set up hospitals and other community health-related programmes.
On the restrictions, Taneja stressed this is all about making sure that those who had undergone body tattooing and other piercing procedures are free of any blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and C as well as HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus as a result of infected or un-sterilised needles and other paraphernalia.
“We have to remember that the reason why we donate blood is to save lives, that those who need our donated blood are chronically ill people, emergency cases,” he said.
Taneja also said, “If the instrument used to tattoo is contained with infected blood or the needle is not sterile, there is a high possibility of contracting blood-borne diseases.
In some cases, people with certain existing medical conditions can also develop a reaction to tattoos while others with sensitive skin or allergy prone to coloured tattoo ink must refrain from getting it done.”
Having said that, he cautioned those into the art of body tattooing and other body priecing procedures only obtain these from hygienic, well-established parlours and artists.
“In the UAE, one will have to wait for 12 months to donate blood after being tattooed. The donated blood always undergoes further testing in order to rule out possibilities of any blood-borne illnesses or infections such as Hepatitis B and C, and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).”
Taneja explained that healthcare facilities prohibit blood donation to those whose tattooes are less than a year because these must be completely healed first: “We must be sure that the tattoo has had enough time to heal.”
He added tattooing “is not legally fined or punishable in the UAE but it is not widely accepted because it is considered self-harm religiously.”
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