Want to perform a heroic act that won’t require you to leap tall
buildings in a single bound? Give blood.
An abundant and safe blood supply is critical for hospitals to do their
healing work. And, giving blood is safe and easy, and is a very good way
to give back to your community.
If you’re interested in donating blood, contact our hospitals to
see if there is a current blood drive. Also find out the requirements.
Basically, you will need to meet age and weight requirements and you must
be in good general health.
Once at the donation center, you will undergo a more thorough screening
process, which includes a mini physical. Staff will check your blood pressure,
pulse, temperature and stick your finger to check your hemoglobin (iron)
level. You also will have to answer a series of questions about your history
for health, travel and high-risk behavior. These must be answered for
every donation, no matter how many times you’ve donated. Also remember
to bring a list of medications you’re taking, as well as two forms
How do you prepare? Here are a few tips:
- Hydrate - Be sure to drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation.
- Wear Something Comfortable - Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily
be rolled up above the elbow and be prepared to lie upright on a bed for
a little while.
Maintain a Healthy Level of Iron in Your Diet Before Donating - If possible, includeiron-rich foods in your diet, especially in the weeks before your donation.
- Make it a Date - A lot of people find it’s good to bring a friend
for encouragement, especially if you’re a first time donor. Your
friend can also help you relax.Giving blood is a simple and safe procedure,
but some people do feel anxious.
After you donate:
- Drink an extra four glasses of liquids and avoid alcohol over the next 24 hours.
- Although you can remove the bandage on your arm within a few hours, clean
the area with soap and water.
- Avoid any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.
What happens next?
All of the donated blood has to be processed and tested for many issues,
including ABO/Rh, unexpected antibodies, HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B,
Syphilis, West Nile Virus, HTLV, Chagas disease and Zika virus.
Generally, blood goes where it is most needed, although some hospitals
can sometimes provide donors with a general idea of what their blood is
being used for. Additionally, it is possible to make a donation to a specific
person. The ordering physician must complete an order form. Then the recipient/patient
must approve that person as a donor and include him or her on a list for
directed donations. If you want to direct blood to someone, it is always
best to check with the hospital’s protocols before donating.
Remember, most people have blood to spare and, with each donation, you
will help ensure there is an ample blood supply for your community. You
will also be someone’s hero. You may not know who, but a single
donation could actually save more than one life.