Michael’s Donate Blood Save Lives Campaign

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I am Michael Abayev, a junior in high school, and I live in New York. I am starting a blood campaign as a humanitarian initiative to help the children in the Philippines who suffer from the complications of dengue hemorrhagic fever. My mom is a nurse from the Philippines. When she used to work at Philippine General Hospital before moving to America, she recalls many Dengue Fever outbreaks, which are still very common and fatal in the Philippines. She remembers seeing a frequent overflow of patients who were in critical condition, even children, bleeding out to death. The Philippines is a third-world country that has a tropical climate and is densely populated, which is why there is an abundance of mosquitoes. During rainy seasons, dengue is very prevalent because Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries the dengue virus, lives and breeds in clean, stagnant water which is very common in Filipino households because their buckets or water storage containers collect water from the rain. Early symptoms make it seem like fever and rash, so most are not brought to the hospital until it reaches a severe stage when the symptoms start to escalate and the organs are affected. By this point, it is too late and the person begins to bleed out. Lack of access to healthcare facilities and services due to poverty is also one of the reasons why patients are hesitant to seek help in hospitals. During the initial stage of dengue hemorrhagic fever, the priority is to treat dehydration because it may lead to more severe manifestations such as shock. But often, some Filipinos wait until the manifestations are already severe before they bring the patient to the hospital hence, in the critical stage of dengue, substantial plasma leakage has already occurred resulting in hemorrhagic manifestations. Irreversible shock may develop due to the loss or leakage of plasma, and resuscitation efforts may no longer be effective. Hospitals are filled with people of all ages bleeding out helplessly. The only way to help them is by donating platelets. The dengue fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes that decreases the platelets in the body. Platelets are responsible for clotting blood, so when someone catches dengue fever they start bleeding out of every opening in their body until they cannot anymore. People are seen bleeding continuously out of their eyes, nose, mouth, and even internally in their organs. The vaccine for dengue (Dengvaxia) was very controversial in the Philippines, and the Department of Health banned its use and sale. The only way to stop people from bleeding out is through blood transfusion. Through this, platelets are donated and the blood can clot to stop the bleeding. In the Philippines, it is possible that if there is a surge in dengue patients, a shortage of blood supply may occur, which is why blood donation can really be helpful for people who suffer from dengue hemorrhagic fever. The pandemic also contributes to the shortage of blood, since people are more reluctant to donate blood. DONATE BLOOD AND SAVE LIVES to help fight the dengue hemorrhagic fever in the Philippines and around the World.