The Blood in You

Merell Lystra L. Recta

Humans have always had a fervor desire for something gold. Long before the science of chemistry was born, alchemy’s greatest goal was to transform lead into gold. Although, not all of us might be aware that our bodies actually contain 0.2 milligrams of it—mostly diffused in our blood. Might as well consider the river of life to be a river of gold.

You are lifeless without the viscous fluid running miles around your body every 20 seconds. Your blood, the life-sustaining fluid, even makes up eight percent of your total body weight.

A mixture of two of its components, both cells and plasma, is constantly needed by one person every two seconds; however, a single donation can help more than just one patient. In some cases, not only the receiver gets the benefit, but the donor as well—such as in the case of a die-hard fan of the American football team Green Bay Packers. He constantly donated blood for the sake of affording tickets to the Packers’ games. By doing this, he was saving his own life from the cruel fate of hemochromatosis, a disorder wherein the body loads too much iron, which can only be treated by frequently donating blood to maintain iron levels in normal range.

Even if blood donating can save thousands of lives out there and, in turn, save yours as well, why do most people fear the concept of blood donating?

That fear might have been an influence of some historical data, which showed a disfavored use of blood donation. The early Egyptians and Romans gave blood as an oral life-giving tonic. But the death of three young men who tried to revive Pope Innocent VIII when he was in a coma, and the death of the pope himself, led to a prohibition of giving blood for many years. However, with the rapid development of science and technology, donating blood now is much safer than before. But, why hesitate?

Most people fear needles.
The fact that a needle is a sharp object injected through your unwounded patch of skin— and seeing your blood flow out of your body, through a tube, and into a container—would probably urge you not to donate blood at all. But some first-time donors considered donating their blood to overcome their fear of needles. Also on the brighter side, pain is just a temporary feeling. What matters most is the happiness you feel when you save somebody else’s life. Happiness, after all, can’t exist without pain.

Having an illness discourages donors.
Although having an illness might give you some doubts whether to donate or not, in most cases, many health conditions do not prevent people from donating. If your illness gives you the hesitation—don’t worry—just go to a blood bank near you for testing. Besides, donating blood does not go easily. There is a process to be followed in order to keep both the donor and the receiver in good health. Nobody would want infected blood anyway.1

There are a lot of donors already. Why bother?
A lot of people might donate blood every year, but just like any other good, blood is perishable. Whole blood—containing red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma—has a shelf life of only 42 days. It is not a misconception that there are a lot of donors. However, maintaining healthy volunteers are necessary to ensure safety and availability of blood supplies.

Too busy with work.
Perhaps one of the worst excuses a person in need could hear is that some people are so occupied with their priorities that taking time to help others through a blood donation seems impossible for them to accomplish. Undeniably, there are people who do not have hesitations; rather, they just do not care at all.

January, being the first month of the Gregorian Calendar, is truly a great starter pack as it is also considered as Blood Donation Month. If you want to start the year with a generous heart, then donate your blood. If you want to overcome your fear of needles or hospitals, try donating blood. If you really have no interest at all, perhaps you can start gaining some by considering and trying to donate blood. Aside from our heart, brain, and other vital organs operating our bodies, the blood functions incredibly well to keep us alive. The thing is, you don’t need to be a medical student and spend thousands of pesos for tuition for years to save lives.

About theweeklysillimanian (1993 Articles)
Official student news publication of Silliman University.

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