Prepare well for blood donation
Many people are afraid to donate blood for varying reasons such as fear of pain or acquiring a disease. Donating blood, however, is safe as precautions are always taken during donation and there is no reason to fear of getting affected by communicable disease. The most serious risks in blood donation are referred as ‘adverse reactions’ and these generally take two forms, namely fainting or bruising.
If you follow these steps, you will reduce the potential for both types of adverse reactions.
PREPARE TO DONATE BLOOD
Determine if you are eligible to donate blood. In general, you will be able to give blood if:
You are healthy, fit and not suffering from any illness. Avoid donating blood if you have cold, a cold sore, cough, virus or an upset stomach.
You weigh at least 45 kg.
You are of the right age i.e. 18-65 years.
Method 1: Prior to donating blood
1) Drink plenty of water or fruit juice the night and morning before you donate. The leading cause of faintness and dizziness is a drop in blood pressure. Getting lot of water or fruit juice into your body helps keep your blood pressure up. If you are donating plasma or platelets, drink at least six to eight glasses. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks, as these will cause your body to expel water.
2) Eat three hours prior to the donation. It’s not a good idea to come with an empty stomach. Eating will keep your blood sugar levels stable, helping you to feel better after you have donated blood. It also helps to ward off light headedness.
If you feel like having breakfast,eat something light such as (cereal, toast, etc.) or a light lunch, such as a sandwich and a fruit.
If you think you might encounter nausea during donation don’t eat immediately before donation. Avoid fatty foods for 24 hours before you donate. Increased fat in your blood stream might make it impossible to get accurate readings on some of the mandatory screening tests conducted on samples of your blood after you donate.
3) Wear loose and comfortable clothing and avoid tight sleeves.
4) Get plenty of sleep on the night before you plan to donate.
5) If you are a platelet donor, remember that you must not take aspirin for two days prior to donating.
6) Answer questions from the staff members or on forms honestly. Certain activities increase the chances of blood borne illnesses (i.e. those that can be transmitted through blood) and those who have recently engaged in such activities may be prevented from donating blood for a period of time.
Method 2: During blood donation
1) At this time, you will be given a mini-physical test in which your temperature, pulse and blood pressure are taken.
2) Expect your haemoglobin level to be checked. It will need to be within the healthy range before you can give blood, to ensure that giving blood won’t leave you feeling nauseous or anaemic.
3) Take a deep breath before the needle goes in, or pinch yourself to create a distraction. Don’t hold your
breath; if you do, you might pass out. Most people report little or no pain, with comments such as feeling like a ‘pinch’. The real issue is discomfort, the less you are tensed up, the better.
4) Relax! Nervousness can also cause your blood pressure to drop and can lead to dizziness. Find ways to distract yourself — chew gum, sing a song, recite something, listen to music, think about the worthy end result of your donation.
Method 3: After blood donation
1) Expect to be asked to take some rest by sitting down for 10 to 20 minutes after giving blood. This lets the staff keep an eye on you to make sure that you are in good shape before you leave.
2) Drink some water or juice and eat a light snack with a high sugar content to ensure that blood sugar levels increases.
3) Avoid driving if you have the sensation of fainting. 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.
4) Eat food that is high in protein content after donation; legumes are excellent choices. You should also eat vegetables and be sure to drink plenty of water. All these things will help your body make more blood for you soon.
5) Refrain from drinking alcohol for at least 12 hours after giving blood.
6) Excuse yourself from heavy lifting for the rest of the day.