Medical Guide April 2024

16 —Medical Guide, April 2024 H ospitals have an urgent need for blood dona- tions, as demand continues to outpace blood supplies, according to the American Red Cross. The organization says fewer donors contributed to the blood supply over the summer in 2023, cre- ating a national blood shortage. As of the fall of 2023, donors of all types were urgently needed, and there was an emergency need for platelet do- nors and type O blood. Canada also has encountered issues regarding its blood supply. Ron Vezina, vice-president of public affairs with the nonprofit organization Ca- nadian Blood Services, said the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather that included wildfires, and more Canadians traveling abroad has left a deficit of appointments within the blood-donation network. Individuals who are considering giving blood are urged to do so. Most people are eligible to give blood if they are in good health, although there are some basic eligibility guidelines, says the World Health Organization. - Individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 of- ten can give blood. Some countries make exemp- tions for younger and older donors if consent is obtained or at the discretion of responsible phy- sicians. - A person must weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.). - One must feel well on the day of the donation, and should not have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug, or any other infection. Cedars-Sinai says there are some reasons why people may be excluded from giving blood. These may vary depending on the state, province or country, so it’s best to get clarification on the rules from a local donation organization. People who may be excluded include: - Individuals taking antibiotics for an infec- tion. - Individuals who are currently using certain medications like anti-platelet agents, anticoagu- lants, acne treatments, drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, hair loss remedy or prostate symptom products, immunosuppressants, HIV prevention drugs, and more. A certain period of time between last usage and blood donation may need to pass, and more information can be obtained by speaking with a doctor. - Individuals who have undergone dental sur- gery in the last 72 hours. - Individuals with a history of HIV/AIDS. - Individuals who have hepatitis or have come into close contact with hepatitis. - Individuals who have used illegal IV drugs. - Individuals who have experienced an uninten- tional needle stick. - Individuals who, in the three months prior to donating, have traveled to an area where malaria is common. - Individuals who spent a combined total of three months or more in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996. - Individuals who spent a combined total of fi ve years or more in France or Ireland between 1980 and 2001. - Individuals who have gotten a tattoo in the last three months. It is not adviseable to give blood while pregnant or while breastfeeding. Giving blood can be a life-saving gesture. Even if a person is not eligible to give blood, he or she can still volunteer with a blood collection organi- zation and spread the word about blood donation. What to know about becoming a blood donor Did you Know? T he Donor Alliance¨ reports that just one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation. Organs that can be donated include the heart, liver, lungs, kid- neys, pancreas, and small intestine. Eye and tissue donations also can have a profound impact, potentially saving and healing more than 75 lives.