Donating blood is a simple procedure.From the time you arrive till the time you leave (filling forms, screening, donation and refreshment) is about an hour. The donation process itself takes 12-15 minutes.Unless there is a large number of people waiting to donate, then you might be required to stay a little longer. However, there are some few recommendations you need to follow before, during and after blood donation.Following these recommendations will help make your donation experience as safe, successful and pleasant as possible.

Before Your Donation:

  • Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, dark chocolate, devil’s fig or Turkey Berry locally known as abeduru/kwawunsusua and fruits such as watermelon
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Get hydrated. You need to drink lots of water and other nutritious fluid.Drink an extra 16 oz. of water or non-alcoholic fluids before the donation.For the meantime, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol/liquor.
  • Avoid fatty foods such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. (Fatty foods can affect the tests we do on your blood. If there is too much fat in your blood, your donation cannot be tested for infectious diseases and the blood will not be used for transfusion.)
  • If you are a platelet donor, remember that your system must be free of aspirin for two days prior to donation.
  • Avoid any form of medications if you intend to donate blood because for you to be able to donate, there should be the absence of any form of illness.
  • Make sure that you load your body with the right amount of Vitamin C.
  • Do not forget to eat your full breakfast before arriving at the blood bank.
  • Remember to bring your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of ID.

During The Donation

  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
  • Calm yourself by thinking of happy thoughts. Consider yourself a hero for donating your blood— not everyone has the ability to do that.
  • Let the person taking your blood know if you have a preferred arm and show them any good veins that have been used successfully in the past to draw blood.
  • Do not be in a hurry. Take your time in answering required questions during the screening.
  • Always remind yourself that these questions are made for your— and the recipient’s— safety. Lying will not do any good, for your blood will be thoroughly tested for HIV, malaria, viral hepatitis, syphilis and other types of diseases, so be honest in the answers you give to the questions asked.
  • Relax and avoid getting too anxious while the actual blood donation is being done.You can do so by listening to music, talking to other donors or reading during the donation process.

After Donation

  • Drink an extra four (8 ounce) glasses of liquids and avoid alcohol over the next 24 hours.
  • Rest (sitting or lying down) for thirty minutes after giving blood.This allows staff to keep an eye on you to make sure that you’re in good shape before you leave.
  • Have a drink after the donation. It is important that you take the drink offered to you after the donation. If possible, have a light snack (crackers or fruit) while you wait.
  • Avoid working-out and do not do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.
  • If the needle site starts to bleed, apply pressure to it and raise your arm straight up for about 5-10 minutes or until bleeding stops.
  • Avoid driving if you feel the least bit faint. Donating blood is not dangerous, but driving is, and you could be seriously injured if you faint while driving. If you are not well after your donation, call someone to come pick you up.
  • Eat a meal high in protein after your donation.
  • Sleep early. Your body still needs to recover from blood loss.
  • If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness after the donation, stop what you are doing and sit down or lie down until you feel better.
  • Do NOT drink alcohol for at least 8 hours after giving blood.
  • Do NOT do any heavy lifting for the rest of the day. This could cause the vein to re-open. Please give your arm at least 16 to 24 hours to heal properly before hitting the gym. To be safe, avoid running or any other strenuous exercise as well.
  • If you feel unwell at any stage after giving blood, call the blood service on 030-268-1281/2 or see your doctor.
  • Come back in 4 months. The blood given will hold for 35 days. Giving regularly ensures that the blood bank has enough to source the over 50 health facilities it covers.
  • Share your experience and get others to donate. Telling people about your harmless donation will help get more people involved. The more people donating, the more the supplies that will be available for emergency situation
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