January 22, 2021 11:40:44 am
The ongoing health crisis has left people with many questions, mostly about recovery and immunity. Among them is a pertinent doubt that has crossed the minds of several COVID-19 recovered patients: can they donate blood?
Blood donation is considered to be an act of kindness, one that can help save lives. During the pandemic, however, it became difficult to manage. This led to a shortage of blood units in blood banks across the country. While social distancing and staying at home are important, it is also necessary to respond to the societal call of duty, Dr Sandeep Patil, Chief Intensivist & Physician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan tells indianexpress.com.
“People who want to donate blood have a lot of questions. If they are patients who have recovered from COVID-19, many questions related to whether or not they can donate blood, or if it will cause any complications for the donor as well as the receiver, come up. For other healthy individuals, they are concerned if blood donation can put them at risk of contracting the virus in any way,” the doctor says.
So, can one contract the virus while donating blood?
“According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, blood donation — or blood transfusion processes — does not put you at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, as it is known that most respiratory viruses cannot be transmitted by donation or transfusion,” explains Dr Patil.
On whether former patients, who have already recovered, can donate, he says that some individuals may have “a cough, or reduced sense of smell or taste, for some weeks after resolution of their coronavirus infection, but they can be considered as recovered for the purposes of blood and component donation”.
When can a recovered person donate blood?
* If the donor had coronavirus symptoms, has tested positive, and it is at least 28 days from resolution of symptoms. A subsequent negative test for the presence of coronavirus does not shorten this 28-day deferral.
* The donor had coronavirus symptoms but tested negative, and it is at least 14 days from resolution of symptoms.
* If the donor had coronavirus symptoms and has not been tested for the presence of coronavirus, or has been tested but is not aware of the result, when it is at least 28 days from resolution of symptoms.
* The donor has tested positive, but has not had symptoms of coronavirus infection, and it is at least 28 days from the date of their last positive test. A subsequent negative test does not shorten this 28-day deferral, even in this case.
“One must, however, note that these are Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee’s guidelines. According to the guidelines in India, a COVID-19 patient can only donate after the 28-day deferral, or after full recovery. It is best that you speak with your doctor if in doubt,” Dr Patil concludes.
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