What to Expect When You Donate Blood?

What to Expect When You Donate Blood?

It is simpler and easier than you think to be an everyday superhero and literally save lives, while lying comfortably in a chair. Want to know how? Donate blood. Only 1% of South Africans are regular blood donors. To be on the safe side the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) needs to receive 3000 units of blood a day from donors.

Did you know that donated blood only lasts for 42 days? After that it has to be discarded. South Africa usually has only enough blood stock to last a few days. This is why you will see regular blood drives taking place across the country, and why it is so important to become a blood donor.

It's so easy and safe to give blood

There is no need to be afraid of needles. It's the same size needle that is used when you have blood drawn for a blood test ordered by your doctor. All you will feel is a little prick and you may have a small bruise afterwards, but it's really not a big deal.

What to expect when you give blood

You get to relax on a comfy bed or reclining chair while your blood is being drawn. While you may feel a little light headed, your body will bounce back again quickly once it's replenished itself by making more blood. Your body knows how much blood it needs so it will make enough to replace the blood you donate. The Blood Service will never take more than one unit from you at each donation. You won't run out of blood.

While you're giving blood you'll probably be given some fruit juice and even a biscuit or two. This helps with any light-headedness you may experience. But don't be alarmed, that light-headedness is minor and staff will be monitoring you closely.

Do you know if you are a viable blood donor? Don't worry, the staff at every blood drive will ensure you can donate safely before you even lie down on the bed.

Here are the 10 minimum requirements to be a blood donor

  1. First time donors: You must be between 16 and 65 years old.
  2. You must weigh 50kgs or more to donate blood and 55kgs to donate platelets.
  3. You are in good health.
  4. Your lifestyle is low-risk.
  5. You believe your blood is safe for transfusion.
  6. You must have eaten within  4 hours before donating blood.
  7. You haven't donated blood in the last 56 days. If you're donating platelets you can't donate if you have donated platelets in the last 14 days.
  8. Your pulse is between 50-100 regular beats per minute. The Blood Services staff at the Blood Drive will test this for you.
  9. Another thing the Blood Service staff will test is your blood pressure. It must be between 100 and 180 systolic and between 60 and 100 diastolic.
  10. Finally, the staff will check your haemoglobin level. It must be 12.5g/dl or higher.

Here are 5 exceptions where you should not donate blood

  1. You have had surgery in the last 6 months or are going to have an operation in the next 6 weeks.
  2. You are pregnant or are breastfeeding your baby.
  3. You are on medication, including antibiotics.
  4. You live in or have travelled to a malaria area.
  5. You have or have had cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, a bleeding disorder or other chronic medical conditions.

Give blood and save a life. It might be yours

Lenmed's mission is to give life. Why not join us and help give life to others by donating your blood on a regular basis? Make a special effort to donate blood if you have a rare blood type and always be on the lookout for Blood Drives in malls near you.

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