It allows us to gauge whether you are healthy enough to donate, and gives us a good indication of whether your blood is safe for donation purposes.
It is advisable to eat something light at least 4 hours before donation. Increase your fluid intake before and after donation.
Donors between the age of 16 and 66 years can donate every 56 days. (approximately every 2 months) Donors over the age of 66 years are restricted to donate 4 times a year, preferably with intervals of 3 months between donations.
Absolutely not. All needles and equipment are new, sterile and disposable. All needles are sealed and used only once.
It is the time from when a person is infected with HIV (or other viruses) until the time when the virus can be detected in blood tests. The danger is that although a person tests “negative” during this period, the virus is still in their blood and can theoretically be passed on to a patient through their blood donation. We test for the virus RNA / DNA using NAT Testing. HIV RNA can be detected between 5 and 11 days.
There has never been a policy of racial profiling in the Western Cape. We collect and distribute blood/blood products without discrimination. As long as people conform to donation criteria, we will accept them as donors.
Yes, if you are feeling well and your haemoglobin level measures 12.5 g/dℓ or more.
No. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not give blood until 3 months after birth (normal delivery or caesarean section) or 1 month after cessation of exclusive breastfeeding.
The entire donation process takes about 30 minutes, questionnaire and pre-examination included. The actual donation should take about 10 minutes.
In order for you to donate your haemoglobin (Hb) level should be: females 12.5 g/dℓ or more, males 13.5 g/dℓ or more. If your Hb levels are lower than this, you will not be able to donate on the day. If you are a returning donor, we can take a specimen to perform a full blood count to see if you may be iron deficient. Your results and advice on further treatment will be posted/emailed to you.
No. The simple finger-prick test and the needle insertion may cause a little bit of discomfort, but it should not be painful during the donation process.
You will donate approximately 475ml of blood.
The human body replaces the blood volume within 24 hours. Red blood cells are replaced by the bone marrow within 3 to 4 days. The lost iron is replaced after about 6 to 8 weeks.
Each person reacts differently to the donation process. Most people will not experience any adverse effects; however, if you feel slightly light-headed or unwell, we will stop the donation procedure immediately.
No, trained staff are always close-by and able to assist you.
Regular donors usually feel fine. Most donors suffer no side-effects, especially if they drink enough fluids in the 4 hours after donation. A few people do feel light-headed and others occasionally faint. This is completely normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
If you feel dizzy, lie down or sit with your head on your knees. In the unlikely event that you feel faint, be sure to lie down on your back with your legs elevated. This usually resolves any feeling of light-headedness and should prevent fainting.
In the case of bleeding, raise your arm up and apply pressure to the site until the bleeding stops. If you are worried about severe bruising, contact us and ask to speak to a doctor or nurse.
Normally, immediately after donating. However, it is best to drink plenty of fluids during the 4 hours after you’ve donated. Also, don’t do any heavy exercise or lifting after donation and reduce regular exercise for 1 to 2 days.
Platelets have an expiry date of 5 days. Red cells can be stored for up to 42 days before they expire. Fresh frozen plasma can be stored for a year.
Your blood is tested for HIV – 1 / 2, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C. Your blood type is also determined.
Yes, we will contact you with confidential results if abnormal test results appear.
After your first donation, we will send you your donor card with your blood group and your unique donor code.
It means that your blood is made up of a rare combination of antigens not found in the general population.
No. All recipients must submit their accounts to their medical aid. However, in the case of a regular donor with no medical aid, we’ll enter into negotiation about the account.
Although we do receive blood from volunteer donors, the transportation, testing, storage, and processing is very expensive. This, added to the administrative costs of providing a blood service, is what we charge for. In short, we charge for the service of ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply, and not for the blood itself.
If you have visited a malaria area, you will only be able to donate blood 4 weeks after leaving that area. If you are diagnosed with malaria, you will not be able to donate blood for 3 years from the time of complete treatment and recovery.
If you grew up in a malaria–endemic area/country, you will not be allowed to donate blood at WCBS for 3 years after leaving your home country. Also, if you travel back to your home country or visit any other malaria–endemic area, you will be deferred for another 3 years from the time of leaving that area. The reason for this is that people who have grown up in malaria–endemic areas may acquire a partial resistance to malaria infection, which can mask the symptoms of the disease. They may appear well but carry a low number of malaria parasites, which could be transmitted via their donated blood. Research has also shown that people from malaria–endemic areas lose their immunity very quickly when they leave that area and become more susceptible to contracting malaria if they return to their home country or another malaria–endemic area.
Yes, blood donation is a safe and sterile procedure.
No, the WCBS does not test for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Diagnostic tests for COVID-19 are not done on blood, but on throat swabs and sputum samples. If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath), please seek medical attention or contact the NICD hotline on 0800 029 999.
Clinic staff always maintain a high level of hand hygiene. All donors will need to sanitise their hands before entering a clinic, and WCBS staff will conduct a COVID-19 screening with donors before proceeding to the next step, this will include a temperature check. Staff wear compulsory personal protection equipment (PPE) such as face masks. All donors will be required to wear a face mask. Staff monitoring the entrance of a clinic will wear both a visor/safety goggle and mask. Staff sanitise their hands regularly with soap and water in addition to using hand sanitiser before and after each encounter with a donor. Hand sanitiser and wet wipes are available for donors to use at each clinic. Social distancing is adhered to by queue control, reducing the amount of beds at a clinic and limiting the number of blood donors at any given time.
Yes, like international blood collection services, we are allowing people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to donate blood. You can donate blood after receiving your COVID-19 vaccine, permitting you feel healthy on the day of donation and display no COVID-19 symptoms.
We do not require blood donors to disclose that they have been vaccinated (if they have not done so in the last 30 days), nor do we record which vaccine they received. If you are a health-care worker working with COVID-19 patients, you will need to wait 14 days after your vaccination before donating blood.
We are confident that the currently approved vaccines do not pose a risk to the patient receiving the blood product, as they do not contain live virus and cannot transmit infection. Respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2 are also not known to be transmitted in blood transfusions from infected people. While we do realise that some people choose not to be vaccinated, it is important to note that the small amount of vaccine injected into a donor is significantly diluted in their bloodstream, which is further diluted in the bloodstream of the patient transfused with their blood product, so receiving a blood product from a vaccinated person is not equivalent to being vaccinated yourself.
The blood collection services in South Africa are dedicated to supplying the safest blood possible while maintaining a sufficient supply to meet the needs of our country. We watch international blood collection and transfusion policies very closely and act quickly if there is any concern regarding blood product safety and possible harm to the patient.
No, this information is not printed on the blood product label so the hospital staff will not know this. Please note that you are entitled to refuse transfusions through the informed consent procedure in the unlikely event that you require a blood product and have concerns about the use of blood from vaccinated donors. There are other patient groups who decline transfusions (eg. Jehovah’s Witness followers) and receive adequate medical care.