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blood donation - beautiful girl in the clinic

Despite lockdown measures being in place to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, it is crucial that people still donate blood.

COVID-19’s sudden emergence and rapid spread across the world have fundamentally changed how societies function, requiring radical restrictions on movement.

These lockdowns aim to limit the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to reduce both the number of people dying after becoming infected and the strain on overloaded intensive care units.

However, while staying at home as much as possible is important, it is also crucial that many essential workers can leave their homes safely. These individuals include care workers in hospitals and the community, public service workers, and people working in food industries, as well as anyone else who plays a key role in helping the country keep functioning, whether there is a pandemic or not.

Donating blood

As well as these key workers, other people who are crucial for maintaining the health of a population are those who donate blood.

A country’s blood supply is integral to supporting people in a critical condition. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), blood transfusions are necessary if a person loses too much blood due to injury or during a surgical procedure. They can also be necessary if a person’s body is not producing blood properly.

Depending on the reason why a person needs a blood transfusion, the NHLBI highlight that it is possible to give four different types of blood product during transfusion: whole blood, red blood cells, platelets, or plasma.

The American Red Cross note that scientists cannot manufacture blood and platelets, and the NHLBI say that the majority of the products given in blood transfusions come from whole blood donations from members of the public.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blood transfusions are lifesaving procedures that occur every day in hospitals across the United States. There are more than 13.2 million blood donors in the U.S., who are crucial for the country’s blood supply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) point out that someone needs a blood transfusion every 2 seconds.

Without ready access to supplies of blood, many people would not be able to undergo lifesaving blood transfusion procedures.

“Dramatic reduction” in blood donations during lockdown

As with all the other resources that a country depends on, supply and demand largely determine its blood reserves. At a local level, if there is a significant accident causing a loss of blood from many people, blood reserves may become stretched as the demand increases.

Conversely, too few people donating blood can put pressure on the blood reserves, as the supply of blood cannot meet the demand.

The physical distancing policies that authorities have implemented during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak have put severe pressure on the supply of blood in the U.S.

According to Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, “[t]he COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges to the U.S. blood supply. Donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of physical distancing and the cancellation of blood drives.”

Dr. Marks describes people who donate blood as “part of our critical infrastructure industries.” Despite the physical lockdown measures, it is crucial that people continue to donate blood.

It is the responsibility of local governments to encourage people to donate blood and to help them do it in a safe way that does not significantly increase their risk of getting or passing on SARS-CoV-2.

In short, the benefits of giving blood at this critical stage of the pandemic far outweigh the negative consequences of the increased number of people traveling from their homes.

Donating blood safely

While it is crucial that people continue to donate blood, doing so safely is, of course, also important.

As with other people who are critical to the functioning of society and thus unable to stay at home, people who donate blood should adhere to physical distancing policies when traveling outside, wear masks in areas where they are unable to keep 6 feet apart from other people, and frequently wash their hands to reduce their chances of catching or spreading the virus.

As Dr. Marks points out, blood donation centers are ideally placed to manage the donations of blood safely during the pandemic, as they are highly skilled in infection control practices.

In Dr. Marks’ words, “[b]lood donation centers always take steps to prevent staff and donors who are not feeling well or who have a fever from reaching the donor area, and they are now taking additional social distancing precautions wherever possible, consistent with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.”

“Donating blood is safe and takes only a little of your time. At many blood donation centers, those who are interested in donating can make an appointment to minimize the time it takes to donate blood. Centers can arrange to call a donor’s mobile phone when they’re ready for the donor to come in.”

The CDC have issued advice to blood and plasma collection facilities on how to operate safely during the pandemic. They recommend:

  • maintaining good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • following hand hygiene practices
  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly
  • placing seats 6 feet apart in waiting areas and the collection area
  • ensuring that donation center workers do not work if they have COVID-19 symptoms
  • making sure that all staff are aware of the latest policies and safety procedures in response to the pandemic

Various organizations can help a person find a local blood donation center where they can schedule an appointment. These organizations include:

  • AABB
  • America’s Blood Centers
  • American Red Cross
  • Armed Services Blood Program
  • Blood Centers of America

Pineapple, a delicious tropical fruit, has been celebrated for centuries not only for its unique taste but also for its miraculous health benefits. The health and medicinal benefits of pineapple include improving the immune system, respiratory health and digestion, strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, curing coughs and colds, and weight loss.

Aside from the interesting story and appearance of this fruit, it is also a storehouse of huge health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene,  thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber, and bromelain.

A pineapple fruit is known to offer a lot of benefits, which include a stronger immune system, weight loss, improved respiratory health and strengthened bones, among others. Let us discuss each benefit in detail;

Treats arthritis

Boosts immunity

A single serving of pineapple has more than 130 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human beings, making it one of the richest and most delicious sources of ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps in reducing illnesses and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells and acting as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous by products of cellular metabolism that can damage various organ systems and disrupt function, as well as cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. The vitamin C content of pineapples defends against this.

Improves cellular health

One of the commonly overlooked benefits of vitamin C is its essential role in creating collagen. This is partly the reason why it is seen as a healing vitamin because collagen is the essential protein base of blood vessel walls, skin, organs, and bones. High vitamin C content in pineapple helps you heal wounds and injuries quickly, along with defending your body against infections and illnesses.

Prevents cancer

Pineapple has been directly related to preventing cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast, as it is rich in various other antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta carotene, bromelain, various flavonoid compounds, and high levels of manganese. Manganese is an important cofactor of superoxide dismutase, an extremely potent free radical scavenger that has been associated with a number of different cancers.

Treats cough and cold

The normal immune system boosting power of vitamin C is well known, but that special enzyme, bromelain, is also connected with the reduction of phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities. Pineapples, rich in bromelain and vitamin C, therefore prevent and treat respiratory illnesses, and eliminate phlegm and mucus from your body if you’ve already contracted an illness or infection.

Improves vision

Vision is one of the most important senses for human beings and pineapples have been directly connected to improving eye health and preventing the age-related eye deficiencies that often occur. Macular degeneration affects many elderly people, and beta carotene can help delay this vision problem. Keeping proper amounts of beta-carotene in your diet from fruits and vegetables is essential in maintaining good eyesight as you age.