Don’t Donate Blood for a Month if You’ve Been Exposed to Zika

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging people who’ve returned from places where the Zika virus is active to refrain from donating blood for at least a month, while also recommending against the collection of blood from any region with active transmission.

Source: Don’t Donate Blood for a Month if You’ve Been Exposed to Zika

Delay for at least 4 weeks, but if in doubt – take more time rather than less.

Sweden: Blood Donors Get a Text Message Whenever Their Blood Saves Someone’s Life

With blood donation rates in decline all over the developed world, Sweden’s blood service is enlisting new technology to help push back against shortages.

One new initiative, where donors are sent automatic text messages telling them when their blood has actually been used, has caught the public eye.

Source: Blood donors in Sweden get a text message whenever their blood saves someone’s life

I like the idea, and could stand to see it on social media as well.

Study: Fresh or Old Blood for Transfusions, Doesn’t Matter

Freshly donated blood is not better than older blood when it is transfused into severely ill patients, a new Canadian-led study reports.

The findings will be a relief to blood collection agencies, which have faced calls to shorten the length of time blood can be stored before it is transfused. In fact, Canadian Blood Services said they were very pleased with the outcome.

“The study supports our current inventory management practices for helping patients receiving transfusions in the intensive care setting,” said Dr. Dana Devine, the agency’s chief medical and scientific officer.

Currently blood can be stored for up to 42 days, though most transfusions involve blood that is about three weeks old. But there has been a growing belief that fresher is better.

Source: Fresh blood no better for transfusions in very ill patients: study

This news builds on a previous study in 2008.  Red blood cells last around four months.  White cells and platelets are quite a bit less.

That said, donations are still necessary.  If you can, please donate and encourage others to do so.  Some have found out they have a rare blood group, and the logistics around this are staggering.  But if you train, be aware of what you should do about donating without impacting your routine.

One Person, Two Sets of DNA: The Strange Case of the Human Chimera

In 1953 a woman known only as “Mrs. McK” entered a blood clinic in northern England. She was there to donate: it was a routine trip, a common gesture of goodwill, but the act would permanently alter Mrs. McK’s perception of herself as well as genetic knowledge of what constitutes an individual body. After Mrs. McK donated her blood and perhaps ate a cookie and drank some juice, she sorted herself out, returned home; in all likelihood she believed that her day had been unremarkable. And for her, it had been. But the piece of herself that she had left at the clinic—that bag of blood meant for a stranger—would have a dizzying journey.

Source: One Person, Two Sets of DNA: The Strange Case of the Human Chimera

Fascinating read!  I’ve got posts that cover rare blood types and logistics, but nothing about have two distinct blood types.  The fact that Mrs McK had the twins blood after 30 years says that it is indeed produced by her body – current belief is that a red blood cell lasts 4 months, white cells last 18-36 hours before removal, and platelets have a lifespan of 9-10 days.

There are things to be aware of when donating blood while training, though to my knowledge people on blood thinner are not allowed to donate.  But if you know someone who can, please encourage them to do so.

When to Donate Blood so You Don’t Screw up Your Workout Routine

There’s not much that’s more essential to your running (and your life) than your blood.

The more oxygen-carrying power your blood has, the faster you can run. Without enough oxygen, your body is quickly plunged into acidosis, the deep burning sensation in your legs that you feel at the end of a race or a hard workout.

Doing anything that would decrease your body’s oxygen-carrying potential would be crazy right?

Well, maybe not if it can save somebody’s life.

Source: How Donating Blood Impacts Your Training and Racing (And 4 Strategies to Mitigate the Impact)

Blood donation groups like the Red Cross advise against heavy exercise the same day you donate, to avoid reopening the needle wound and because you may feel dizzy or faint from low blood pressure.  Be aware that frozen blood has a 48-hour lifespan, compared to four weeks for fresh blood, makes me understand why there are constantly blood drives.  But the last time I checked, those on blood thinners are not allowed to donate.  If you can, please consider donating or encouraging those who can to donate blood.

Related reads:

The Logistics of Sharing Rare Blood

Some 160 of the 342 blood group antigens are ‘high-prevalence’, which means that they are found on the red blood cells of most people. If you lack an antigen that 99 per cent of people in the world are positive for, then your blood is considered rare. If you lack one that 99.99 per cent of people are positive for, then you have very rare blood.

If a particular high-prevalence antigen is missing from your red blood cells, then you are ‘negative’ for that blood group. If you receive blood from a ‘positive’ donor, then your own antibodies may react with the incompatible donor blood cells, triggering a further response from the immune system. These transfusion reactions can be lethal.

Source: Inside the Science of Sharing Rare Blood

Similarly, there are rare people born with reversed organs and such.  The word had been that if you are a rare case, China would likely have someone with the same issue given the population size.  India would be another likely source…

Knowing that frozen blood has a 48-hour lifespan, compared to four weeks for fresh blood, makes me understand why there are constantly blood drives.  But the last time I checked, those on blood thinners are not allowed to donate.  If you can, please consider donating or encouraging those who can to donate blood.

Related: How Many Undiscovered Blood Groups Are There?