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How frequently can one donate blood?

Q: I am a 26-year-old male, weighing 55 kg and 5.9 feet in height. Since I have a rare blood group (B-negative), I have donated my blood twice with a one-month time interval. I have heard that a minimum gap of three months is required between two donations. Are there any consequences of frequent blood donation? If yes, what are the appropriate precautionary measures to overcome the same?

A:The policy regarding donation of blood varies from centre to centre, but generally blood can be donated by any healthy and fit individual between the ages of 17 and 60 years every three to four months. There are many factors that can make a person ineligible to donate blood including taking certain medications, some medical conditions, travel to particular regions, etc. The frequency of donation depends upon the blood component donated and how rapidly the individual's body replenishes the donated blood/blood component(s). A donor's blood volume is restored within a few hours. Red blood cells replace themselves more slowly in about 3 to 4 weeks though it takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating. Some donors, especially women who have menstrual periods, may not be able to donate every 56 days because of insufficient iron stores to replenish the amount lost. Frequency of blood donation

  • Whole blood: every 56 days
  • Red cell/plasma: every 56 days
  • Plasma: every 28 days
  • Platelet: every 2-3 days up to a total of 24 times a year Most people feel fine during and after blood donation though a few may feel dizzy or faint. Giving blood does not decrease your strength or health status and no special precaution is required. Eat normal healthy food and, if anaemic, consult a doctor regarding iron replacement.

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