In the honor of World Blood Donor Day (14 July 2017), we have a created a small read on what blood donation means and how you can give blood. It is no surprise that blood donations save thousands of lives in one single day; it is the lifeline in an emergency and for people suffering with long term conditions. It is estimated that we need over 6,000 blood donations per day across England to treat patients, which explains why we are in constant need for new donors.
Although it is great to save lives, you must first ensure that you are eligible to give blood. Blood donations will not be taken from certain populations as it can put them and the patient receiving the donation at risk. You can give blood if you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs. or 50kg, are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before), are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years. You will be asked a series of questions regarding any treatments you are/have received, any medicines you have taken, traveling, tattoos, pregnancy, illness, cancer and previous donations to make sure it is safe for you to give blood.
You must never give blood or platelets if:
- You are HIV positive.
- You are a hepatitis B carrier.
- You are a hepatitis C carrier.
- You are HTLV positive
- You have ever had or been treated for syphilis
- You have ever received money or drugs for sex.
- You have ever injected, or been injected with, drugs; even a long time ago or only once. This includes body-building drugs and injectable tanning agents. You may be able to give if a doctor prescribed the drugs. Please check with us to make sure.
Before: Ensure you eat well and stay hydrated before your donation to stabilize your blood sugar levels and blood pressure; this will prevent any dizziness or lightheadedness. It is important that you have 7 -9 hours’ sleep the day before and keep your body well rested by avoiding vigorous exercise.
During: You will be called for private health screening, where a donor carer will confirm your identity. They must ensure that it is safe for you to donate and your donation is safe for a patient to receive so they will ask a few confidential questions. For your wellbeing, they check whether you have enough hemoglobin (iron) in your blood before donating. A small blood sample will be taken from your finger to test your hemoglobin levels. You will be made comfortable in a chair and approximately 470mL of blood will be taken over a period of 5-10 minutes. It is very important that after your donation you relax there for at least 15 minutes and have at least 2 drinks following the donation. A selection of drinks and snacks are available at the donation center.
If you think you are eligible and would like to save lives by donating blood then please visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to register and book your donation appointment.