Before Blood Donation

Very often, we have a few donors who come to donate blood when they are not eligible;  their reactions are negative or they can become irrational or nervous simply because they don’t understand that Blood Banks around the world function according to guidelines and safety norms for donors and patients as well as blood bank staffs.

An illness or even a minor injury may mean that it is not safe for the donor to give blood to a sick patient. For example, a fever with irritating throat from a donor could mean that donor may have either bacterial or viral infections and will be asked to donate after he is fully recovered. It is NOT good if a donor lies as this represents a risk for a new born baby or a sick person with very low resistance and or immune system. Likewise, certain medications can be harmful to patients. Thus, it is important that a donor is well and healthy when donating blood. Recent travel, life-styles and behaviour like having  a piercing or tattoo done less than 6 months or if you have any reason to believe you may have acquired an infection through unprotected sex, you should not donate. We do test all blood donations for certain infections, but, unfortunately, no test is perfect. Besides, a donor should not attend a blood donation for the purpose of doing test.

Even though safe sex practices are vital to the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (TTI), ‘protected sex’ is not 100 percent effective. Therefore, the Blood Transfusion Service’s guidelines relating to sexual activity are based on the higher rates of infection in certain population groups. You are given a Donor Education Material to read before you fill the Medical Questionnaire.

When attending a blood drive , you will have the opportunity to speak in all confidence with blood bank staff or the Blood Bank Officer (BBO) or even the phlebotomist if you have any queries in relation to your health or your lifestyle.

Reducing the risk of vasovegal or fainting
Drinking plenty of fluids (at least 8 glasses of water or juice, non-alcoholic fluids in the 2  to 3 hours prior to donating and eating savoury food and / or salty snacks  before donation will greatly reduce the risk of fainting during or after donating. In addition, please ensure you eat a light food like sandwich or biscuits 45 minutes before giving blood. You must avoid a heavy meal and avoid eating fatty foods. Hydrate your body by drinking again water/juice (non-alcoholic drinks) and don’t smoke at least 2 hours after donating blood to replenish loss fluids.

Do not rush before leaving the donation area 
You are advised to rest for at least 15 minutes and drink refreshments that are served. Avoid strenuous effort.