Amid the rising number of dengue cases in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) urged the public to donate blood for patients suffering from the mosquito-borne disease.

PRC secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said blood bags are most needed in the National Capital Region (NCR), where dengue cases in the past months went up by 40 percent compared to the same period last year.
Department of Health (DOH) data show that out of almost 40,000 dengue cases nationwide recorded between January and July this year, over 9,000 patients (or 23 percent) are from Metro Manila.

Pang estimates that two out of five dengue patients, or 16,000 patients, will need blood transfusion.She said there is no blood shortage at the moment. However, if the number of dengue cases continues to rise and the blood demand goes up, there may not be enough supply for patients who immediately need blood transfusion.

"Dengue is our most immediate need right now," she told GMA News Online. "That's why we are encouraging people to donate blood right now, when there's no shortage yet. Ayaw naman natin na kung kailan may shortage ay doon lang magdo-donate ng dugo."

Not all dengue patients need blood transfusion but those who do will need at least three units of blood, and patients with severe dengue cases will need at least 10 to 16 bags of blood, she said.
950,000 bags of blood

 The DOH said the country needs about 950,000 bags of blood a year for patients who need about five bags of blood at a time.
However, only around 600,000 bags of blood were collected in 2010, according to the DOH.

"Given that data, about 70,000 patients last year ang hindi nasalinan ng dugo nung nangailangan sila. If people are actively donating blood, this wouldn't happen," Pang said.
She added that if at least 900,000 healthy Filipinos (or about one percent of the population) regularly donate blood, there won't be any blood shortage in the country.No 'forced' donors

Meanwhile, Pang said the Red Cross accepts donations only from volunteer blood donors and not from those they call "patient-derived donors."

"These (patient-derived) donors are often forced to donate, just because a patient is in dire need of blood," she said. "Usually relatives or neighbors who are asked to donate blood for a sick patient."

Pang said the Red Cross discourages these kinds of donors because often the donors do not have a clean bill of health.

She added that voluntary donation is also a good way for donors to have their own health checked, as donors are screened right before donating blood.

According to the Red Cross guidelines on donating blood, anybody aged 18 to 65 who weighs at least 110 lbs can donate blood. It only takes 10 minutes for a person to donate 450 cc of blood.

Donors are also advised to thoroughly and honestly fill out a blood donation questionnaire form, which includes direct questions about behaviors known to carry a higher risk of blood-borne infections, like prostitution and other sexual activities or intravenous drug use.

Pregnant women and persons who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot donate blood. Those who have had tattoos or body piercings done in the last year are also not advised to donate blood until after one year.

Those who suffer from anemia, high or low blood pressure and low hemoglobin are temporarily not allowed to give blood until they regain their good health.

Blood transfusion

Pang said a healthy person can donate three to four times a year, which equates to about three or four bags of blood annually. "By doing so, every year you can save four lives," she said.

However, she said donors can opt to go through an aphaeresis procedure, a medical technology where the donor's blood goes through an apparatus that can separate the components of the blood.

Technicians can then pick out only the needed components from the blood, such as platelets or plasma.

To help dengue patients, Pang said donors can go through the aphaeresis method and donate platelets, a component of the blood that drastically drops in dengue patients.

Through aphaeresis, a donor can give up to eight units of platelets at a time, and can come back to donate every two weeks.

"Importante 'yung laging may blood donors, hindi lang 'pag nandyan na 'yung pangangailangan. It takes four hours for blood to be screened, after which you may find out na hindi pala pasado 'yung dugo dahil may sakit 'yung donor. Your patient may be dead by then," she said.

Pour plus d'information,  lire une histoire de ''Dengue'' sur
 < www.expatauxphilippines.blogspot.com >

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