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Blood In Every Aspect of Our Lives: From Donor to Dengue

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Have you ever noticed that in life, we encounter many things related to blood? In horror movies, blood was added to give scarier effects. In medical science, blood can save someone’s life, and of course, we have blood in our bodies! Blood has so many functions. The red ones carry oxygen from our lungs to all body parts. It also takes carbon dioxide back to our lungs, preventing us from getting poisoned from it. On the other hand, white blood cells help fight infections. They are in charge of healing our wounds and protecting us from mutated cells like cancer. I wonder what blood tastes like. Not in a vampire-blood-eating sense, but more to why mosquitoes need to get a sip of our blood. Anyway, while we’re talking about blood, do you know that today is World Blood Donor Day? If you don’t, then now you know! However, do you also know that tomorrow is ASEAN Dengue Day? What a coincidence! So, why don’t we discuss both while we’re at it? 

When I was in High School, the red cross organization of my school often conducted a blood donor program. I really wanted to participate since I believe donating blood is an act of bravery that requires a lot of willingness, and that every drop of blood is highly needed. However, I never had the chance to! Usually, I fail the blood pressure test as my blood pressure is low since I always go to sleep late and skip my breakfast before school. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the number of people interested in donating their blood  has decreased, while people needing blood transfusion doesn’t seem to lessen. Indeed, it is risky to donate your blood amidst the pandemic, but if you’re healthy and interested in doing it, don’t hesitate to get your blood checked and see if it fits the red cross organization’s criteria for a blood donor. Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), a sufficient quantity of blood products is the key  to an effective health system (WHO, n.d). It might seem scary at first, but so many good things come from donating your blood. In fact, it helps your blood to circulate and regenerate! Don’t forget to eat a balanced diet before, and after you donate your blood, you’ll feel refreshed after.

Here, I’ll help you check out a few things you need to know before you go right away to donate your blood. First thing first, if you’re in Indonesia, make sure you’re over 17 years old and weigh more than 45 kilograms (PMI, 2016). If you’re less than 45 kilos, you might pass out once your blood is taken! You will be the one needing it most then, and you DON’T want it to happen, do you? Next, I’m hoping you wouldn’t make the same mistake: I went to sleep late the day before and skipped breakfast. Remember, you need the energy to donate your blood, and the only way to have that energy is by consuming a balanced and nutritious diet. Make sure you’re not pregnant or in a condition that doesn’t support you to donate your blood (PMI, 2016). Always consult and be honest with the medical personnel about your health condition to prevent unwanted side effects. You can always check out your local red cross organization’s website for further information regarding blood donors. 

However, if you feel sick and  enervate, I advise you to get your blood tested to see if there are problems with your blood. One of the most common sicknesses related to blood is dengue fever. You might wonder why in Indonesia, this sickness is called “Demam Berdarah Dengue”, and here’s why: dengue fever can escalate to a dangerous state  where people have low blood platelets, blood plasma leakage, and low blood pressure to an extreme level if the sickness develops into dengue hemorrhagic fever (Kularatne, 2015). According to WHO (2022), dengue fever is an illness caused by the dengue virus. There are four kinds of dengue serotypes, and each person can get infected all FOUR times! It is a mosquito-borne disease, so its spread is from infected female mosquito bites feeding, especially Aedes aegypti (WHO, 2022). When one gets an infection from this virus, they usually show symptoms through a high fever, muscle and joint pains, a severe headache, and even vomiting. One of many things you need to know about the sickness is that dengue fever happens in many hot and humid places like in Southeast Asia and Latin America, especially during the rainy season.

Dengue fever can be prevented by cleaning the environment thoroughly, removing egg-laying habitats like puddles, disposing of your wastes properly, and regularly covering or emptying water storage containers (Break Dengue, n.d). If someone shows symptoms of dengue fever, they should immediately consult a health facility and consume a diet consisting of enough nutrition, especially vitamins, to help the body produce more platelets. Do not ignore the symptoms that appear because, at some level, dengue can be fatal. Now that you know a few more things regarding blood-related aspects in your lives, please give more attention to your health. Make sure that you eat a nutritious diet and take good care of your environment. Remind your loved ones to do the same to ensure a more healthy lifestyle. When we’re aware about our environment and health, not only do we save ourselves, but we save others, too!

References:

Break Dengue. (n.d). How to prevent the transmission of dengue virus. Break Dengue. Retrieved from https://www.breakdengue.org/toolkits/keep-dengue-away/?utm_source=googlegrant&utm_medium=ad&utm_campaign=toolkits&gclid=Cj0KCQjwvqeUBhCBARIsAOdt45b_AaFChe3e7iXIpBQBCnriKBVT-yTvFkIg-4hqf0709Cz5XaY72XYaApoiEALw_wcB 

Kularatne, S. (2015). Dengue fever. BMJ; 351. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h466

PMI. 2016. Syarat untuk Menjadi Donor Darah. PMI. Retrieved from http://ayodonor.pmi.or.id/about.php 

WHO. (n.d). World Blood Donor Day. WHO. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day 

WHO. (2022). Dengue and severe dengue key facts. WHO. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue