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Blood types and how donation works

Blood types are classified according to the presence or absence of agglutinins, also called antibodies or proteins in blood plasma. Therefore, blood can be classified into 4 types according to the ABO system in:

  • Blood A: is one of the most common types and contains antibodies against type B, also called anti-B, only being able to receive blood from people of type A or O;
  • Blood B: is one of the rarest types and contains antibodies against type A, also called anti-A, only being able to receive blood from people of type B or O;
  • Blood AB: is one of the rarest types and has no antibodies against A or B, which means that you can receive blood of all types without reaction;
  • Blood O: is known as the universal donor and is one of the most common types, it has anti-A and anti-B antibodies, and can only receive blood from O-type people, otherwise it may agglutinate the red blood cells.

People with type O blood can donate blood to anyone but can only receive donations from people with the same blood type. On the other hand AB type people can receive blood from anyone but can only donate to people with the same blood type. When a transfusion is done it is important for compatibility to be verified beforehand, otherwise there can be complications.

Blood types and how donation works

What is the Rh factor

Blood types are classified according to the ABO system, but are also classified according to there Rh factor in + and -. The Rh factor is an antigen present in the red blood cells and should also be taken into account in the transfusion process, otherwise there may be serious complications related to the blood transfusion.

People who have the Rh factor are classified as Rh + and can receive blood from people who are both Rh + and Rh-, but can only donate to others who also have Rh +. On the other hand, people who do not have the Rh factor are classified as Rh- and can donate blood to people who do or do not have the Rh factor, however they can only receive from people who are also Rh-.

Blood type chart for donating

The table below shows who you can donate to, and from whom you can receive:

 You can donate to:You can receive from:
Blood type A+AB+ e A+A+, A-, O+ e O-
Blood type A-A+, A-, AB+ e AB-A- e O-
Blood type B+B+ e AB+B+, B-, O+ e O-
Blood type B-B+, B-, AB+ e AB-B- e O-
Blood type AB+AB+

A+, B+, O+, AB+, A-, B-, O- e AB- (every type)

Blood type AB-AB+ e AB-A-, B-, O- e AB-
Blood type O+A+, B+, O+ e AB+O+ e O-
Blood type O-A+, B+, O+, AB+, A-, B-, O- e AB- (every type)O-

What is your child's blood type

Usually the child's blood type is identified shortly after birth through the foot test. However the child's blood type can also be identified through routine blood tests or at the request of the child's pediatrician in order to determine the diagnosis of a disease.

However, knowing the blood type of the parents it is possible to know what are the possibilities of the child's blood typ. Check out below your baby's possible blood type:

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In pregnancy, when the mother is Rh negative and the baby is positive there is a possibility that her body will produce antibodies to eliminate the baby which may lead to an abortion. Therefore, pregnant women with this type of blood should consult their gynecologist to see if there is a need to take the anti-D immunoglobulin injection, but there are never any serious problems in a first pregnancy.

Who can donate blood 

Donating blood lasts on average 30 minutes and to be done some requirements must be met, such as:

  • Being between the ages of 18 and 65. However, people over the age of 16 can donate blood as long as they have parental or guardian authorization and fulfill the other requirements for donation;
  • Weigh more than 50 kg;
  • If you have had a tattoo, wait 6 to 12 months to make sure you have not been infected with any type of hepatitis and you are still healthy;
  • Never have injected illicit drugs;
  • Wait one year after the cure of any STD.

Men can only donate blood once every 3 months and at most 4 times a year and women every 4 months and at most 3 times a year, since women lose blood every month through menstruation, taking more time to reset the amount of blood taken.

Before donating it is important to avoid consuming fatty foods at least 4 hours before donation, in addition to avoiding fasting. Therefore, it is recommended that a light meal be made before donating blood and after donation. You should eat a light snack after donating which is usually provided at the donation site. It is recommended to drink plenty of fluids, do not smoke at least 2 hours after donation and not carry out very intense physical activities, as there may be risk of fainting, for example.

How to donate blood

If a person wants to donate blood they should go to one of the blood collection stations, fill out a form with various questions about their health and living habits. The form will be reviewed by a specialist and, if the person is fit, you can then sit in a comfortable chair for the donation.

A nurse will place a needle in the vein of the arm where the blood will flow into a pouch to store the blood. The donation lasts approximately half an hour and you can apply for leave from work on this day, without having your salary deducted.

At the end of the donation, a reinforced snack will be offered to the donor to replenish their energies, since it is normal for the donor to feel weak and dizzy, although the amount of blood withdrawn does not reach half a liter and the organism soon recovers this loss.

It is safe to donate blood and the donor does not get any disease because it follows national and international blood safety standards from the Ministry of Health, the American Association and the European Blood Banks Council.

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