Thinking of donating blood? That is one of the best decisions you could make to save lives. Millions of people need blood, yet whatever the amount of blood available through donation, it is not sufficient for every single patient who needs blood transfusion.
Whether it is your first time, or you have done it before, here is some helpful information on how you can prepare for the actual day.
Helpful Pre-Donation Tips
Get plenty of rest before the donation day by not being involved in heavy lifting or doing vigorous exercises and by getting enough sleep the night before.
What you eat is very important and before donating blood, you will need to:
1. Eat more foods that contain iron such as green leafy vegetables like spinach, red meat and iron-fortified cereals.
2. Eat regularly; for instance, 1 to 3 hours before donating blood you should eat healthy foods and mostly salty and savoury foods to keep your blood sugar levels stable as this can prevent dizziness after you have donated blood.
3. Avoid fatty foods like French fries and ice cream 24 hours before donation as fats can appear in your blood even several hours after eating such foods.
4. Drink lots of water or other fluids like juice immediately before donating blood because almost half of blood is made up of water.
Other things to know:
- Avoid taking aspirin two days before donating blood.
- Inform the doctor or medical practitioner if you are taking any medication and remember which medication it is.
- Avoid alcohol before donating blood as that can affect your hydration levels.
- Choose a shirt or blouse or jacket with sleeves that can be rolled easily.
- Consider carrying a book or have your favourite music playlist with you to keep you occupied during the donation process.
Voluntary blood donation is a selfless act of giving your blood to others who really need blood or blood products to save their lives but taking care of yourself is important as well.
To learn more about blood donation and what to consider when donating blood, click here.