What To Expect
The idea of donating blood can leave anyone weak at the knees. But there’s nothing to worry about – our super-efficient nurses will make your 20-minute experience with us as pleasant as possible.
Before you go to give blood, do the following:
- Make sure you meet our donor criteria, and that none of the deferment criteria apply.
- Eat a substantial meal three to four hours before heading off to the donation clinic.
- Increase your fluid intake on the day, both before and after giving blood.
What to expect at the clinic:
- When you arrive, you’ll need to take your ID or donor ID card to reception.
- Of course, if you’re a new donor, we’ll need you to register first.
- You’ll be given a confidential donor questionnaire to complete (you’ll need to do this each time you donate).
- We’ll then test your haemoglobin/HB (iron) levels (it’s just a little finger-prick test).
- Next, we’ll check your blood pressure and pulse. A mini-medical! Yay!
- If all is okay, the sister will insert a new, sterile needle into your arm and begin the donation process.
- You get to lie back and relax for about 10 minutes, which is roughly how long this part of the process lasts. During this time you’ll give only 475ml of blood – not even half a litre. And with this you can save up to three lives. Isn’t that amazing?
- You’re encouraged to take your time after your donation. Enjoy a nice cup of tea or fruit juice and have a cookie or two. Don’t rush off – the sister needs to make sure that you’re feeling fine.
- We’ll see you again in 56 days!
Things to do afterwards:
- Relax and have a cup of tea, coffee or juice. (It’s on us!) Liquids will help to replace the blood volume that’s been lost. Make sure you have lots of non-alcoholic fluids for the rest of the day.
- Keep the dressing on your arm clean, dry and in place for five hours.
- If your arm starts bleeding, raise it up and apply pressure to the site until the bleeding stops.
- Avoid heavy exercise or lifting on the day of donation, and reduce regular exercise for a few days after.
- If you feel faint, lie down on your back with your legs elevated.
- If you’re worried about pain or bruising in your arm, please contact us and ask to speak to our Medical Sister or Medical Officer.
Your body’s recovery process:
Your body will replace the plasma (that’s the liquid component of your blood) within 24 hours. The red blood cells will take three to four days to reproduce, and the iron will be replaced within six to eight weeks.