World Blood Donor Day: The Hows & Whys
June 14th celebrates World Blood Donor Day. Organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), this year’s theme for World Blood Donor Day is “blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion.” The slogan being “safe blood for all.” Safe and clean blood transfusions are the key to good healthcare. It is the mission of World Blood Donor Day to encourage people to donate blood by highlighting the benefits.
So, how and why should you give blood this World Blood Donor Day? Keep reading to find out!
Check if you’re eligible
The first step to donating blood is to ensure you are eligible to do so. Some things that affect eligibility are:
Age - you have to be between 18 and 65 years old to give blood.
Weight - you must weigh more than 50KG to give blood.
Travel - if you have travelled to certain areas you may not be able to give blood for 1+ years after your return.
Piercings or tattoos - you must wait a 4 months before you can donate.
This ‘Can I Give Blood?’ Quiz by giveblood.ie tells you if you are eligible to donate blood by asking you to answer 15 easy questions.
Donating blood is a very simple undertaking. Here’s how it usually goes:
You can find your local donation clinic here.
Register - at the clinic, you will be asked to register with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. You’ll be asked basic information, you will also need photo ID.
Interview - you’ll be given some information leaflets and asked to fill out a questionnaire relating to your health. A healthcare professional will then chat with you and make sure you are eligible to donate.
Haemoglobin test - Once you have been approved to donate, a small sample of blood will be taken by pricking your finger. This will be used to test your haemoglobin.
The Donation - Next is the donation itself. A vein will be found in your forearm and a needle inserted. There will be a blood pack attached to the needle. This pack is where the blood is taken. Giveblood.ie states that the test takes 8 minutes and collects 470 mls of blood. You will be closely monitored throughout the process so no need to worry.
After - It is advised to stay in the clinic for a minimum of 15 minutes after your donation has finished. You’ll be given refreshments (yum!), and should you have any questions you are provided with some post donation info.
Why Give Blood?
If you are eligible, you should definitely donate blood. One in four people will need a blood transfusion in their life. Over 1,000 people in Ireland receive a blood transfusion each week.
Not only does donating blood help to save others lives, but the person donating also benefits. Blood donation can:
Have Anti Cancer Benefits - “Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk.” (brmsonline.com)
Weight Loss - apparently one blood donation can burn up to 650 calories! (remember you can only donate every 90 days).
Reduce risk of heart attack - donating blood can reduce the risk of heart attack by 88%, American Journal of Epidemiology.