What is Blood Transfusion?

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Because there are only four types of blood, it is possible to take blood from one person and donate it to another person in a process called transfusion. In order for a transfusion to work it is essential that the agglutinogens on the surface of the donor's blood cells match the agglutinogens on the surface of the recipient's blood cells.
   

In other words, the blood type of the donor and the blood type of the person receiving the transfusion must be compatible. If the blood types don't match, special antibodies in the recipient's blood, called agglutinins, will attack the donated blood causing blood clots to form in a reaction called agglutination.

If you ever need a blood transfusion, someone will take a sample of your blood in order to determine your blood type and the genotypes of matching blood types. Someone with type A blood can receive blood from people with the AA, AO, and OO genotypes. People with type B blood can receive blood from people with the BB, BO, and OO genotypes.

There are two special genotypes when it comes to blood transfusions:OO and AB.

The first special genotype is OO. People with O blood are said to be universal donors because they can donate blood to everybody. However, people with type O blood can only receive transfusions from other type O donors. Because O blood does not carry either the A or B agglutinogens, the immune system of a person with O blood views these agglutinogens as foreign. People with type O blood have agglutinins in their plasma that will react against the A and B agglutinogens. Therefore, type O blood will undergo agglutination if exposed to A, B, or AB blood.

The second special genotype is AB. People with AB blood are said to be universal recipients because they can receive blood from people with all four blood types. Since in AB blood both the A and B agglutinogens are presented on the surface of the red blood cells, the immune system of a person with AB blood views both of these molecules as part of itself -- not as something foreign. AB blood does not produce agglutinins against either the A or B agglutinogens, and therefore does not undergo agglutination when exposed to A, B, AB, or O blood.

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Why donate Blood?

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  1. Someone needs it and you’ve got it why not. All it takes is the ability and the will.
  2. Where will it come from when you need it? If we all take up blood donation then we will be confident about its availability in case we or those we care about need it.
  3. It helps us live a disciplined lifestyle when we look up to the next time to donate. The sure result will be behavior change and the zeal to live a healthy lifestyle, and live on a healthy diet to ensure full health after donation.

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Quick Facts On Blood & Blood Donation

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  1. The shelf life of blood is 35 days.
  2. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 years, in good health and weighing over 50 kg is fit to donate blood. 
  3. Males can safely donate blood every 3 months, and females every 4 months.
  4. 60% of the blood collected in Kenya is from high school children.
  5. 30% of blood is collected from 20-64 year olds.
  6. 47 million is the total population of Kenya.
  7. 1% of the population is the World Health Organization recommended percentage of the country's blood collection.
  8. 470,000 – constitutes 1% of Kenya’s population.
  9. 250,000 -is the current units of blood collected annually in Kenya.
  10. Sterile procedures are used to ensure no risk of infection to the donor.
  11. Donated blood is screened for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
  12. Donated blood can also be used for research purposes..
  13. There are Four main blood groups. 
  14. A single unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
  15. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.
  16. Red blood cells live for about 120 days in the circulatory system.
  17. Platelets promote blood clotting.
  18. Plasma, which is 90% water, makes up 55% of blood volume.
  19. Healthy bone marrow produces a constant supply of blood.
  20. An average adult has about 5 litres of blood circulating in their body.
  21. Blood makes up about 7% of your body's weight.
  22. Newborn babies have about 80-90 ml/kg of blood in their body.

 N/B Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
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