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How Summer Affects Blood Donation

Posted by LIZ DAVENPORT

How Summer Affects Blood Donation

Does summer affect blood donation? The truth is that yes …

The need for blood is constant, therefore it is important that donations occur regularly throughout the year, however, in summer donations drop drastically; For example, comparing a day in August with one in March, the donations obtained are less than half. The causes are multiple:

    Excessive heat that discourages donors: we are on the public highway to meet the residents of the Community of Madrid, but it seems that a walk is not what we want the most at this time, so the spontaneous decision to donate decreases a lot. In addition, it is common for blood pressure to drop during the summer season, which can prevent donating to someone who, despite everything, has been encouraged to approach a mobile unit.

    Vacations: Most of us take vacations in these months, which means that, obviously, during that period we are not available to make a blood donation in our Autonomous Community of residence.

    Travel to areas that prevent donation in subsequent months. To the above reason, it is added that many donors have as a holiday destination countries where there may be a risk of contagion of viruses such as Chagas, Malaria, HTLV and Zika and Chikungunya. If they have traveled to those countries they must allow 4 months to pass before they can donate.

    In the case of having left Europe, given the possibility of contracting the Nile virus, the time that must be allowed to pass from the return is 28 days.

    We do not organize campaigns with companies and educational centers that help us promote donation. Throughout the year, especially in the mornings, we organize donation campaigns with companies, educational centers and other types of organizations, which collaborate with us to promote blood donation internally, which helps us a lot to have good participation. By not having these collaborators, we can only communicate our presence through street signs and text messages and / or email (if you are already a donor at that point). The result is that the campaigns we organize have a much lower public response.

It is true that the number of scheduled surgeries carried out in the summer is also decreasing, which allows us to cope with the decrease in donations during the summer. The appeals we make at this time do not respond so much to the increase in need (for example, due to the increase in road accidents), but rather to the decrease in donations.

Blood cannot be preserved indeterminately, the components have different expiration times; It is for this reason that it is essential that donations are made continuously throughout the year (including the summer) in order to serve all the people who may need it. These are the conservation periods of the different blood components: Red blood cells: they last up to 42 days and must be kept at a temperature of 4º.

Platelets: they only live for 5 days (7 if they are deactivated) and must be kept at a temperature of 22º and in constant movement.

Plasma: it is the only component that can be frozen (-40º) and lasts up to 3 years.

Red blood cells

Platelets

Plasma

When summer ends, the traffic light of needs for some blood groups is usually red. You can check how the traffic light is at all times here www.donarsangre.org

Blood donation campaign in the Plaza Mayor de Chinchón

What do we do to try to improve the results? We try to organize campaigns in the areas of the Community of Madrid where the population increases in the summer period, mainly in towns where Madrilenians have their second residence or attend the patron saint festivities. So, if you are in your usual town or city, please donate blood, it is much needed.

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