World Blood Donor Day 2020: Precautions To Be Taken While Donating Blood During COVID-19
World Blood Donor Day 2020 falls amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19. Here are the precautions that people at blood donation centres and blood donors should take in these testing times.
With adequate precautions, blood donations can be easily done whilst ensuring donor's safety
- Donors and staff should wear face masks and surgical gloves at all times
- They must surely take temperature checks for staff and donors
- Absolute hand hygiene should be maintained by everyone
World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14. This year, the day falls amidst a global pandemic of COVID-19. Because of the nation-wide lockdown, people who voluntarily donate blood could not do so. It is natural for many people to fear stepping out to visit a blood bank for donating blood. However, even in times of a global pandemic, it is important that blood banks have adequate blood reserves so as to provide those in need. Working personnel at blood donation centers have not be accustomed to safety and social distancing protocols so that blood collection can be done without any health hazards like contracting the virus.
World Blood Donor Day: Know the precautions to be taken
With adequate precautions, blood donations can be easily done whilst ensuring donor's safety. Following are a few precautions that people at donation centres and those going to donate blood should take:
- Donors and the staff should wear face masks and surgical gloves at all times.
- They must surely take temperature checks for staff and donors.
- Absolute hand hygiene should be maintained by everyone.
- Sanitisers with 60% alcohol content must be used.
- Disinfection of frequently touched bases/furniture etc. must be done.
- Social distancing must be practiced. Seats should be placed 6 feet apart in waiting areas and the collection area.
- Nobody with COVID-19 symptoms should enter the donation centre
- All staff should be aware of the latest policies and safety procedures in response to the pandemic.
- Good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette must be practiced by all.
COVID-19: Risk Associated with blood donation
As per the directive issued by National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC), there is no data to suggest that individuals are at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process. Blood banks are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of voluntary donors. To ensure there safe and hassle-free passage, blood passes are also being issued by the blood banks which help these committed donors to commute hassle free while coming for donation or going back.
However, the people coming to donation centers and the patients coming to hospital for their regular transfusions are always at risk of contracting it through other patients/attendant's who might be asymptomatic careers of the virus, however the risk of transmission from asymptomatic career is very less. A safe way to minimize this risk is by doing COVID 19 test for all the planned admissions at hospitals and minimising the attendants with donors. It sounds like a huge statement wherein all patient's coming to any hospital should undergo COVID-19 test before admission but that's the only way to keep everyone safe including patients and the care givers.
Whether a pandemic or not, it is important that physically fit and healthy people continue to donate blood so that it can be provided to severely ill patients who are in need of a blood transfusion.
(Dr Gaurav Kharya, Clinical Lead, Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy & Senior Consultant, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)
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