No doubt you would be horrified by the thought of giving a premature infant a psychotropic drug like Prozac, Xanax, Ativan, or Ritalin. You know that can’t be good for a tiny, fragile, developing brain. Nor would you think it makes sense to give them birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, cholesterol-lowering drugs, or blood pressure medication, but this happens every day. Is there a nurse somewhere who is putting these drugs into the IV’s of tiny babies? No… and yes. You see, these babies are receiving these drugs when they get blood transfusions from donors who are on these drugs.
Yikes! A few years ago, I was appalled to regularly read Facebook posts by a woman who was maybe 30 years old, about all the different prescription medications she was on. Then I saw a post by her that said she had donated blood. My jaw dropped when I realized that some sick or injured person was going to be receiving a dose of at least 4 kinds of prescription medications. Then I thought of a tiny, frail, premature infant and thought “Dear God! I hope no premie gets that blood!”
Eye-Opening: The next time I donated blood I was interested to read the list of drugs that disqualify a person from giving blood. There are about a dozen of them. If you’ve ever seen a Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) (a book about the size of a tire from a small car), you know this leaves approximately 85 zillion other drugs that are acceptable for blood donation. Take a minute and think about that – beta blockers that affect your heartbeat, migraine medication, sleep aides, erectile dysfunction drugs, antihistamines, even caffeine from the 2 mocha cappuccinos you had today – if you understand that they would not be good for a tiny baby, how do you really feel about what they are doing in your body?
“Healthy”? The Red Cross website has an interesting statement: “In almost all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. Your eligibility will be based on the reason that the medication was prescribed. As long as the condition is under control and you are healthy, blood donation is usually permitted.” That makes me think – When did they start giving medication to healthy people? Aren’t drugs prescribed for sick people? So technically your condition may be “under control” but if you were “healthy” they wouldn’t need to give you any drugs – right?
Give Blood! Please don’t think the message here is that you should not give blood. We should all give blood whenever we can. The reality of it is that there is already a blood shortage and if the Red Cross started rejecting people who were on prescription or even over-the-counter medications, there would be almost no donors. Now isn’t that sad? The purpose of this blog is to make you think about your blood and your health. Think about the chemicals that are circulating through your bloodstream. If you realize that it would not be a good thing for a premature infant, cancer patient, organ transplant patient, or trauma victim to have these chemicals in their blood, then on some level you must realize that they’re not good for you either. I challenge you to get your blood as healthy and clean as you possibly can so that when you donate blood you are giving a very sick or injured person a boost of healthy cells, antioxidants, and nutrients to support their healing.
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