Why you should give blood and what to expect

Written by Holly Reddish. 

Photo: acroamatic, Flickr

Photo: acroamatic, Flickr

Blood donation is so important because it saves lives.

Just one donation can be used to help three people and could be used to combat certain kinds of cancer, sickle cell disease and to replace the blood that can be lost during childbirth and surgery.

To get involved, simply log on to www.blood.co.uk and register as a donor. They ask for basic details and you’ll be given a donor ID. All that is left is for you to show up and donate. Before donation, it is important to get a good night’s sleep and have plenty to eat and drink to avoid feeling light-headed after giving blood.

Avoid alcohol 24 hours before your donation. Comfortable, loose fitting clothes are recommended and tight sleeves should be avoided.

At the donation centre, you will be called for a private health screening where staff will check that you are able to give blood. A small blood sample will be taken and iron levels will be checked to ensure that donation is safe.

During the donation process a blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and you will be advised to do applied muscle tension during the donation to ensure wellbeing during and after the process. A full donation is 470ml and takes around 5-10 minutes.

There will be refreshments provided at the donation centre and you are recommended to relax for 15 minutes after donation.

On 11th March, 11am-2pm and 3:30pm-6pm, the NHS will be at the Engine Shed asking people to give blood.

Although the NHS is keen to get as many donations as possible, there are some restrictions on blood donation.

You cannot give blood if you have had a piercing or tattoo in the past four months.

If you are a female under 20 and under the height of 5’ 6”, you will have to check your height and weight to make sure that you are able to donate.

For full details of the restrictions, including those concerning certain medications, go to http://www.blood.co.uk/giving-blood/who-cant-give-blood/

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