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How To Check Rhesus Factor

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How to Check Rhesus Factor

When it comes to blood transfusions, pregnancy, or organ transplants, it is important to know your blood type and rhesus factor. The rhesus factor, also known as Rh factor, is a protein found on the surface of red blood cells. Knowing your Rh factor is crucial because it can affect your health and the health of your unborn child. In this article, we will discuss how to check your rhesus factor and why it is important.

What is the Rhesus Factor?

The Rhesus factor is a protein found on the surface of red blood cells. It was first discovered in Rhesus monkeys hence the name. The presence or absence of the rhesus factor determines if a person is Rh positive or Rh negative. If you have the rhesus factor, you are considered Rh positive. If you do not have the rhesus factor, you are considered Rh negative.

How to Check Your Rhesus Factor

There are several ways to check your rhesus factor. The most common method is through a blood test. A healthcare provider will draw a sample of your blood and send it to a laboratory for analysis. The lab will test your blood for the presence or absence of the rhesus factor.

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Another option is to use a home blood typing kit. These kits can be purchased online or at a pharmacy. They typically come with a lancet, blood typing card, and instructions. To use the kit, you will need to prick your finger with the lancet, place a drop of blood on the card, and wait for the results. The card will indicate if you are Rh positive or Rh negative.

Why is it Important to Know Your Rhesus Factor?

Knowing your rhesus factor is important for several reasons. If you are Rh negative and pregnant, there is a risk of developing Rh incompatibility with your unborn child. This occurs when the fetus is Rh positive, and the mother is Rh negative. If the mother's blood comes into contact with the baby's blood, the mother's immune system may produce antibodies against the baby's Rh positive blood. This can lead to hemolytic disease of the newborn, a condition where the baby's red blood cells are destroyed, resulting in anemia and other health complications.

If you are Rh negative and require a blood transfusion, it is essential to receive Rh negative blood to prevent an adverse reaction. If Rh positive blood is given to an Rh negative person, the immune system may produce antibodies against the Rh factor, leading to hemolytic transfusion reactions, which can be life-threatening.

Knowing your rhesus factor is also important if you are considering becoming an organ donor or receiving an organ transplant. Rh factor compatibility is one of the factors considered when matching donors and recipients.

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FAQs

1. Can my rhesus factor change over time?

No, your rhesus factor is determined by your genetics and does not change over time.

2. Can an Rh negative woman have an Rh positive child?

Yes, if the child's father is Rh positive, there is a chance the child will be Rh positive.

3. Is it safe for an Rh negative person to donate blood?

Yes, it is safe for an Rh negative person to donate blood. The blood will be used for Rh negative individuals to prevent an adverse reaction.

4. Can Rh incompatibility be treated during pregnancy?

Yes, Rh incompatibility can be treated during pregnancy with Rh immune globulin injections.

5. Can an Rh negative person receive Rh positive blood in an emergency?

In an emergency, an Rh negative person may receive Rh positive blood if Rh negative blood is not available. However, this should be avoided if possible to prevent an adverse reaction.

Conclusion

Knowing your rhesus factor is essential for your health and the health of your unborn child. If you are unsure of your rhesus factor, speak with your healthcare provider or use a home blood typing kit. By understanding your blood type and rhesus factor, you can ensure you receive the appropriate medical care when needed.