Did you know on June 14th, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated? In fact, the first-ever World Blood Donor Day was held in 2004 with an aim of raising awareness for those who have donated their blood and educating others about the importance of donating blood. Every year on this day, individuals are encouraged to donate blood or join campaigns in order to provide life-saving donations for patients in need and it’s no different this 2021.
There are many reasons for donating blood including saving lives and helping people worldwide in need of transfusions. With that in mind, the importance of this life-changing act cannot be overstated. Continue reading on the benefits of blood donations, eligibility requirements and how often you can donate.
Donating blood – who and how does it help?
Blood donations play a crucial role in emergency situations as well as the many lives with medical conditions who rely on blood transfusions to keep their bodies healthy or while they are undergoing major surgeries. This includes conditions such as leukemia, thalassaemia or bleeding disorders.
Additionally, one unit of blood donated will be separated into three components and stored for specific use. This includes red blood cells, platelets and plasmas which will come in handy in many other treatments. Blood, however, has a short shelf life.
At -35 deg C, plasmas can be kept frozen for up to a year. On the other hand, red blood cells may be stored for six weeks at most while platelets can only last for just five days. Where blood is required on a daily basis, healthy blood is thus always in demand for current and future purposes.
Can I donate blood?
As an expat, if you are interested to take part and start donating, note that all blood donors must first have a Singaporean residential address which is valid for 3 months from the intended donation date. You will also need to provide a Singapore phone number in the event the medical staff wants to get in touch with you. Additionally, it is mandatory to check your eligibility as a blood donor.
According to the Singapore Red Cross, you will have to, for instance, generally be in good health and have a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5g/dL for females, and at least 13.0g/dL for males. When visiting a blood bank, the nurses at the donation site will administer a test to confirm that you can give blood.
With that being said, in order to become a donor, you must also:
- be between the age of 16 and 60 years old (Youths aged 16 and 17 will need to come with a signed parental consent form)
- weigh at least 45kg
- not have any symptoms of infection (e.g. sore throat, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea) for at least one week
- not have a fever in the last four weeks
More recently, the Health Sciences Authority states that blood banks now have a new blood donation eligibility for donors who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. During this period, you are required to provide information about your vaccination as an additional step in the donation pre-screening process. Moving forward, once you are given the go-ahead to give blood, you can start anticipating your first blood donation with many more contributions to come.
Don’t forget about yourself too
With that in mind, take note that you must wait 112 days in between donations to stay well after giving blood. As you start to make a difference in someone else’s life, don’t forget about taking care of your own health as well.
In the event of unexpected circumstances where you fall sick or get injured, you too will experience the true benefits of blood donation. More importantly, to ensure we remain accessible to high-quality medical facilities without worrying about hospital bills during such situations, it is highly encouraged to be well-insured early. That way, you will feel more assured that there is help at hand should you fall victim to critical illnesses or injuries.
Acquiring a comprehensive life insurance policy with a Critical Illness cover is a must to have the essential protection you need throughout your life here. Designed by expats for expats like yourself in mind, the services offered at Expat Insurance stand out because we work closely with over 26 insurers and have access to over 2000 products to ensure your health policy covers 36 critical illnesses that include major cancers, heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery and more conditions.
Have questions about the different insurance policies? Contact our team today.