Thursday, June 10, 2010
Give blood, don't get it if you can avoid it
Laura Landro (WSJ, May 25, 2010) says donated blood is checked for more things than HIV and Hep C these days. Try West Nile and Chagas (parasitic disease), for two.
Many things that have killed people cannot even be tested for.
There is also impetus to kill more things in blood after it is donated, using chemicals and ultraviolet.
Last year, researchers came up with 68 things that people could get from donated blood.
The FDA regulates blood operations, which in the US, are handled by the American Red Cross and a number of private blood banks.
Donors now answer 50 questions as a way to root out those who might give contaminated blood. Donors cannot have taken pituitary growth hormone or Tegison for psoriasis. Those are just two.
If you spent more than three months in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996, forget donating.
If you have been a country with a lot of malaria—nope.
But even trying to kill the bad things has a downside—the methods can hurt the recipient in some cases.
Best to not need blood. But if you do, you will know plenty of people are trying to keep that blood as safe as possible.
Everything is a crap shoot.