Often when donors turn up for emergency blood donations or even in voluntary blood donation drives, various mental and physical factors dictate the comfort levels during and after blood donation. It has been realized that by following a simple set of things to do before donating blood will ensure that a lot of these donations can become much for safe and pleasurable to the donor
Here are 10 simple pre donation steps that will ensure that you will have a safe and successful blood donation
1. Ascertain your eligibility:
Although blood banks will ensure that only an eligible donor shall donate blood, a donor can still ascertain his/her eligibility before walking in to donate. In general, the donor:
- Must be in the age group of 18 - 60 years
- Must weigh more than 45 kg for a normal blood donation and atleast 60kg for an apheresis donation.
- Must not be under any medication.
- Must not have received any blood transfusions in the last 12 months.
- Must not have had a minor surgery in the last 6 months and a major surgery in the last 12 months.
- Must not have had a case of ear piercing in the last 6 months.
- Must not have had a case of dental extraction in the last 3 months.
- Must not have suffered from jaundice, typhoid in the last 1 year and malaria in the last 3 months.
- Must not have been vaccinated for Hepatitis B or rabies in the last 1 year.
- Must not have donated whole blood in the last 3 months.
- Must be healthy, fit, and not suffering from a current illness.
- Women should not be pregnant or breast feeding her child
- Must be free from Diabetes, not suffering from chest pain, heart disease or high BP, cancer, blood clotting problem or blood disease, unexplained fever, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, enlarged lymph nodes in armpits, neck or groin, white patches in the mouth etc.
- Must not ever had TB, bronchial asthma or allergic disorder, liver disease, kidney disease, fits or fainting, blue or purple spots on the skin or mucous membranes, received human pituitary - growth hormones
2. Sleep well on the previous night:
Getting a good night's sleep the night before your donation is important because being tired can affect hormone levels. Plus, a lack of sleep can increase anxiety if you are a first time donor or if you are nervous every time you donate.
3. Drink plenty of water:
Studies have shown that drinking a lot of water before a blood donation lessens the risk of fatigue and fainting.Water can increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system that makes people more alert, increases blood pressure and give more energy. In general drinking a good quantity of water also avoids dehydration.
Researchers from the U.S. Red Cross (American Red Cross) found that drinking half a liter of water or 16 ounces (453 ml) prior to blood donation could reduce the risk of fainting up to 20 percent. The results also found the lack of drinking water before the blood donation can lower blood pressure in donors which is believed to be a major reason why people faint after their donation.
4. Have something to eat in the last 3 hours:
Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, before donating. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fats that appear in your blood for several hours after eating fatty foods. As a bonus, try to ensure that the foods you are eating are iron-rich.
5. Avoid alcohol consumption in 12-24 hours prior to donation:
The Drug controller and the NACO (National Aids Control Organization, the governing body for Blood Safety in India) guidelines say that the person must not be under the influence of alcohol. This is ambiguous requirement and therefore the interpretation varies from blood bank to blood bank. The quantity and type of alcohol does matter because that decides the duration for which the person will be under the influence of alcohol. Influence of alcohol could also be interpreted as the presence of alcohol in the blood stream. At a rule of thumb, the person must not have had alcoholic drinks of any kind in last 12 hours at least. Less then 12 hours is a sure deferral. If the person had alcohol before 72 hours, then whatever the nature of the spirit and whatever the quantity, the person is fit to donate. In the interim duration i.e. 12-72 hours post taking alcohol, if the Medical Officer who is examining is the person is convinced on visual inspection that the person is not under the influence of alcohol and is fit to donate, the blood bank proceeds to take blood.
6. Avoid smoking in last 2 hours:
Although no blood bank will stop you from donating blood if you have smoked immediately prior to a donation, it is generally advisable to avoid it in 2 hours before a donation.
7. Wear comfortable clothing:
Remember that when you donate blood most of your arm has to be unclothed, so wear either short sleeves or sleeves that can be pulled up for proper access.
8. Read and fill the donor questionnaire form:
It is next to impossible to remember the exhaustive set of deferral criteria and other necessary precautions. In order to help ensure that these things are well understood by the donor, every donor is required to fill up a donor questionnaire form. As a donor you are required to read every question in detail and fill this form with utmost care. In case there is a doubt, it is always recommended to get clarity rather than assume something
9. Ensure your Hb and blood pressure is at required levels:
Before you get onto the cot for a blood donation make sure that your Hb level is tested and is in the acceptable range of >=12.5 g/dL. Also make sure that the blood bank technician checks your blood pressure level and confirms it to be in normal levels.
10. Discuss your medical history with the doctor:
The presence of a doctor in a blood donation drive is mandatory. In case it is in a blood bank, you can call the doctor. Make sure that you get to clarify any more doubts, discuss your medical history and get a confirmation from that doctor that it is safe and good that you donate blood
Apart from all these, there is another important factor. Be calm. Relax! You are going to do something really wonderful. Isolated studies (undocumented) have shown that a tensed and impatient donor is more likely to have post donation complications.