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‘Smokers, alcohol drinkers can donate blood’

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

MANILA --- Smokers and individuals who take alcoholic drinks can still take part in bloodletting activities, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

“If you’re a smoker, no problem, but be sure, at least four hours before the donation time, hindi po tayo nakapagsigarilyo (you don’t smoke any cigarettes),” Philippine Blood Center (PBC) Blood Technical Services Division chief Maria Concepcion Isberto said in a media forum.

“Isama na natin ‘yung mga alcoholics, chronic alcoholism, sorry, deferral po iyan, pero kung ano po paminsan-minsan lang po umiinom ano po, so, alam mo na magdo-donate ka bukas, so, dapat ngayong gabi, di ka umiinom (Let’s include the alcoholics, chronic alcoholism, sorry, that’s a deferral, but occasional drinking is okay, so, if you will be donating tomorrow, you shouldn’t be drinking tonight).”

Isberto explained that individuals who are between 16 to 65 years old, at least 110 pounds or 50 kilograms, and generally in good health can donate blood.

Their systolic and diastolic blood pressure must be within normal limits and their hemoglobin must be 125-175 g/L for females and 135- 185 g/L for males.

They must also have a well-balanced meal within four hours and at least six hours of good sleep before donation.

The DOH PBC will screen all individuals who would sign up for blood donation. The screening includes blood pressure check and testing for transfusion of transmissible infection.

Isberto said pregnant women, promiscuous or high-risk individuals like sexual workers, individuals who have sexually transmitted infections, cancer patients, and individuals who have a history of cancer or are undergoing chemotherapy are disqualified from donating blood.

Women who gave birth and are breastfeeding can donate blood after a year. The same is the time frame for those who had ear piercing or had tattoos (through needles).

“Kung ikaw ay nagpa-vaccinate kahapon, sa Covid-19, bukas pwede ka mag-donate, bivalent vaccine, wala pang exact time [frame] kelan pwede makapag-donate ng dugo (If you had Covid-19 vaccine yesterday, you can donate tomorrow, as for the bivalent vaccine there is no exact time [frame] when you can donate blood),” she said.

Blood donation comes with benefits such as weight loss promotion, blood cholesterol reduction, healthy heart, improvement of emotional well-being, stimulation of blood cell production and maintenance of optimal iron levels, Isberto noted. (PNA)


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