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How do I Give Blood?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Giving blood is very easy, and it is an excellent way to contribute valuable resources to the medical community, especially if you have a rare blood type. Many people need blood transfusions at some point in their lives, and by donating blood, you will ensure that stocks of blood remain high for those who need them. Many people are reminded to donate blood during national disasters, but fresh blood is constantly needed.

If you want to give blood, the first step is to find a site to donate blood. Many blood banks sponsor regional blood drives which may visit your area on a regular basis. You can also go directly to a blood bank to donate blood, or you may want to ask the staff of your hospital. The internet is an excellent resource for finding blood drives: search for “give blood” and your region in your favorite search engine. You can also use a resource like the website of the Red Cross/Red Crescent to find regional blood drives.

On the day that you plan to give blood, eat a healthy meal so that you will not feel faint after donation. If you feel under the weather, you may want to consider donating at another time. Obviously, blood from people with infectious diseases will not be accepted. If you know that you have such a disease, you may be able to contribute to the medical community in another way, however; ask your doctor for more details.

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When you show up to give blood, staff will ask you for your identification and a donor card, if you have one. Many blood banks track their donors with such cards to ensure that they do not take too much blood from a donor in too short a period of time. Most blood banks like to wait eight weeks between donations, to ensure that donors regenerate all their blood cells and stay healthy. A staff member from the blood bank will ask you a series of questions to see whether or not your blood donation is safe. Blood banks ask that you answer these questions honestly, as they do not want to put the blood supply at risk.

After your interview, you will be shown to a chair to make your donation. A nurse will swab your arm and insert a small needle to collect the blood. In around 10 minutes, your donation will be finished, and the nurse will ask you to wait a few moments before getting up, as giving blood can make some people momentarily dizzy. You may also be offered juice or a cookie to help bring your blood sugar up.

In addition to giving blood, you can also give platelets in a process called apherisis. Apherisis takes longer, but it supplies valuable and needed platelets to people like cancer patients. The process involves inserting a needle into your arm and running the collected blood through an apherisis machine to collect the platelets. The remainder of the blood is returned to your body through another needle. Platelets have a very short shelf life, and as a result there is a constant need for them.

Most blood banks have very strict rules about who may give blood. This is designed to protect the blood supply from infectious disease, as patients who are in need of blood may have weakened immune systems which could not fight these diseases off. Your blood will be screened after collection, but these screenings are not foolproof; if you have the slightest doubt about the safety of your blood, do not donate. If you think that you need anonymous testing for a disease like HIV, search for “anonymous HIV testing” and your region to find a clinic which offers this service. Many clinics offer free screenings for sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

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anon24121
Post 2

Should I restrict physical activity after giving blood ?

ivanka
Post 1

Drinking a few cups of water 30 min before donating blood could avoid dizzy and lightheaded feeling.

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