Thousands of people rely on others to donate blood and blood products every day to stay alive or maintain their health. The majority of blood donors nowadays are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for the benefit of the community.
Established supplies are low in some nations, thus volunteers usually donate blood when family or friends require a transfusion. Many people donate blood for a variety of reasons, including charity, general knowledge of the need for blood, greater self-confidence, assisting a close friend or relative, and societal pressure.
It turns out that giving blood benefits more than simply the people who receive it, as there are health benefits for donors, and why 14th June is set aside as a day to celebrate all who donate blood.
Who can donate blood?
You must be in good general health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 16 years old to give blood or platelets. Blood donation by 16-year-olds (or the legal age in your country) needs parental approval; platelet donation by 16-year-olds is not permitted. For those who are at least 17 years old, parental approval is not required. If you’re 76 or older, you’ll need written permission from your doctor to donate blood or platelets.
You should feel good and be able to carry out your typical daily activities if you are in good health. You may still be eligible if you have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure if you are receiving therapy to regulate your condition.
What to know before donating blood
Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated makes it simpler to locate your veins and minimizes light-headedness after donating blood.
Prepare yourself by eating a healthy breakfast. Don’t forget to eat breakfast and any snacks that are supplied to you. These things will help you cope well with the donation and feel normal for the remainder of the day.
Exercise before, not after donating blood. Going to the gym before donating blood is fine, but not afterward.
Individuals who donate blood frequently should take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron, according to the American Red Cross.
The Process of Donating Blood
From the time you arrive until you depart, the blood donation process takes around an hour. The usual time it takes to collect a pint of blood is around 8-10 minutes. Here’s what you should know:
- A driver’s license or other forms of identification will be required.
- You must provide a complete address.
- During a brief and confidential interview, you’ll answer a few questions about your health history.
- You’ll let the medical personnel know about any prescription and/or over-the-counter medications you’re using.
- Your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level will all be checked.
- If you are donating whole blood, they will clean a spot on your arm and use a new sterile needle to draw your blood. (It feels like a brief pinch and goes away in a flash.)
- Platelet donations, for example, are made with an apheresis machine that will be attached to both arms.
- You’ll be seated or lying down for the duration of a full blood donation, which takes about 8-10 minutes.
- The donation is complete when approximately a pint of whole blood has been collected, and a staff member will apply a bandage to your arm.
- The apheresis machine will take a tiny amount of blood, separate the platelets, and return the remainder of the blood through your other arm.
After you donate blood
You sit in an observation area after giving and rest and eat snacks. You are free to go after 15 minutes. Following your blood donation, you should:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for at least five hours.
- If you’re feeling dizzy, lie down with your feet lifted until you feel better.
- If bleeding occurs after the bandage is removed, apply pressure to the wound and lift your arm until the bleeding stops.
- Use a cold pack on the afflicted area for the first 24 hours if bruising occurs.
- Include iron-rich items in your diet to compensate for the iron lost after blood donation.