Donating blood is a safe procedure. It benefits emotional and physical health.
Blood donation does not just benefit the recipients but the donors as well.
Benefits Of Donating Blood
According to the Mental Health Foundation, donating blood can(1):
- Benefit physical health
- Reduce stress
- Reduce isolation and bring in a sense of belonging
- Improve emotional well-being
- Help get rid of negative feelings
Things To Known Before Donating Blood
Along with knowing the benefits, procedures, and side effects of blood donation, there are a few things a donor should be aware of.
- You need to be 17 years or older to donate blood. In some states, a 16-year-old can also donate blood with parental consent(2).
- The weight of the donor should be 110 pounds and he should be in a good health.
- Information should be provided if suffering from any medical condition or taking any kind of medication. These would affect the eligibility to donate blood.
- One should wait for at least 8 weeks between whole blood donation and 16 weeks between double red cell donations.
- Platelets donation can be done every 7 days and up to 24 times a year.
What Is Done Before The Blood Donation Procedure?
Before you give blood, you need to undergo a health screening that is done by a trained staff member.
They check for the donors:
The blood is also checked for several diseases such as:
To prepare for donating blood:
- Drink extra 16 ounces of water before an appointment
- Eat a healthy low-fat meal
- Do not wear tight-fitted clothes. Wear a half sleeves shirt or a shirt with sleeves that can easily roll-up.
Blood Donation Procedure
Registration of the donor is done that includes providing the identification, medical history, and a quick physical examination.
The donor is given some information to read regarding the blood donation.
Whole blood donation is a common type of donation as it offers the most flexibility. It can be transfused as whole blood or separated into red cells, plasma, platelets, as per the recipient’s requirement.
For whole blood donation the procedure is as follows:
- The donor is seated in a reclining chair. You can be seated and can even lay down.
- A small area in the arm is cleaned and a sterile needle is then inserted.
- It can take around 8-10 minutes for a pint of blood to be drawn. You can remain seated or lying down during the procedure.
- After a pint of blood is collected the staff member removes the needle and bandages the arm.
Other types of blood donation are:
- Platelet donation (plateletpheresis)
- Plasma donation (plasmapheresis)
- Double red cell donation
These donations are done by a procedure called apheresis.
In apheresis, an apheresis machine is connected to both the arms. It collects a small amount of blood and separates the components and returns the unused components back to the donor’s body. This cycle is repeated several times and the procedure takes approximately two hours to complete.
After the blood donation procedure is complete, the donor is given a snack and drink and is made to sit for 10-15 minutes before leaving.
Side Effects Of Donating Blood
Blood donation is a safe procedure for healthy adults. As new sterile equipment is used for every donor, there is no risk of contracting a disease.
Some people might feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous after donating blood and this can last up to a few minutes. Lying down with feet up can help get rid of these symptoms.
There can be bleeding at the site of the needle. Applying pressure or raising your arm for a couple of minutes can stop it. There are also chances of developing a bruise at the site.
Call the blood donation center in case of the following:
- You feel restless, nauseous, dizzy, and lightheaded after drinking, eating, and resting
- You continue to bleed or develop a bump at the site of the needle
- There is pain, numbness, or tingling in the arm.
Blood donation is a procedure that can save as many as three lives(3). This act is beneficial to the recipients as well as the door.
Be best informed before going ahead with it, as it should not risk anyone’s life.