Post Blood Donation Reactions and its Solutions


People often do not donate blood because of the fear of reactions after blood donations.Voluntary blood donors normally have very neligible reaction after blood donation,occasionally donors face certain problems after having donated blood.This could be due to a variety of factors,ranging from missing out a crucial pre donation care to some abnormal behavior in the body. Usually most of the donors are absolutely fine if they follow all pre donation care and have answered all questions correctly in the donor form.However there may be a few exceptions. Some of the reactions and the actions to be taken are highlited below:

  • Pain & Bleeding at the Phlebotomy Area(Site of Donation): Usually only after blood has clotted the Blood Bank staff would apply a bandage.However after bandage has been applied there may still be some bleeding for some donors. When the needle is taken out of the arm bleeding may continue until the small hole in the vein closes up.

    Solution:The way to prevent this is to raise the arm and apply pressure to the arm over the site where the needle was inserted. This must continue until all signs of bleeding have stopped. Failure to maintain this pressure is the most common cause of bruising.

  • Feeling Cold: Some donors may feel cold during reaction due to a small loss in body fluids.

    Solution:Its a normal reaction.Lie down in the donation bed for sometime.If still you feel cold,speak to doctor if required

  • Vomiting: Very rarely some donors may feel nauseated by the sight of so many medical equipment and blood, or even due to some reactions in the body.

    Solution:Allow fresh air for the donor. The donor may lie down in a place with less crowd and asked to relax.

  • Feeling weak: This is again attributed to donors having lost some body fluids.

    Solution:The donor can be made to lie down and offered some refreshments and water after a while.Do not forget to take refreshments after donation.

  • Giddiness/Fainting:Since there is a loss in body fluids, some donors may feel a little giddy after donation. Sometimes this can be attributed to not enough blood being sent to brain.

    Solution: The crowd around the donor must be cleared allowing fresh air for the donor. The donor must be rested and made to sit down with head between knees or must be made to lie down and legs should be slightly raised at a 45 degree angle.Make sure that when you get up you do so slowly. If you still feel faint, lie down again.Follow the advice of resting atleast for 10 minutes after donation.Donors can reduce chance of fanting by taking pleanty of fluid,avoid rushing around,prolonged standing,hot environments and vigorous excersise.

Reactions During Apheresis Donation:Donors sometimes have adverse reactions to the sodium citrate used in apheresis collection procedures to keep the blood from clotting. Since the anticoagulant is returned to the donor along with blood components that are not being collected, it can bind the calcium in the donor's blood and cause hypocalcemia.These reactions tend to cause tingling in the lips, but may cause convulsions or more serious problems. Donors are sometimes given calcium supplements during the donation to prevent these side effects.

The final risk to blood donors is from equipment that has not been properly sterilized. In most cases, the equipment that comes in direct contact with blood is discarded after use.

Donors are screened for health problems that would put them at risk for serious complications from donating during Pre Donation itself.One study showed that 2% of donors had an adverse reaction to donation.In all the above mentioned cases, what is most important is a feeling of reassurance to the donor that he/she is safe and keeping a relaxed frame of mind.A person who is not feeling healthy is not supposed and not allowed to donate blood.But,if you properly fill the donor form during pre donation,the chances of these reactions is negligible.

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