The Importance of Giving Blood

*Warning – contains photos of needles pricking skin*

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all well.

I’ve been meaning to write up this blog post for a while now, but seeing as it’s based on an occurrence that only happens every 4 months, I’ve taken my sweet old time as usual. Today’s post is all about giving blood – the process it entails, why it’s important and everything else in-between.

What is it? Donating your healthy blood to the NHS so it can be used to save lives via transfusions, whether that’s someone who’s had a car accident, lost blood in an operation or has given birth… you get the jist. I ain’t talking about some bizarre ritual where you send a packaged envelope of your bodily fluids to your local hospital, so keep reading before you eagerly dive into your stationery drawer.

Why? Because your blood can be used in emergency situations to save others, or alternatively used for research purposes in universities and hospitals. After all, there is no ‘substitute’ for blood, and stocks often fall worryingly low.

How? You book an appointment online, head to the donation centre on the date/time of your choice and get started on the quick process (which I’ll detail more about later)

When? You can donate every 3-4 months, but you don’t have to – some people do it just once or twice a year if they prefer.

Who? There are some restrictions on who can give blood based on things such as medical history, health conditions, height, weight and more, but the majority of healthy people should be able to donate no problem.

The Process

I usually give blood about three times a year and let me tell you, it’s a breeze… no excuses.

After booking your appointment online, you’ll head to your local centre and read through the Ts&C’s, side effects and possible risks.

After a little wait, you’re taken to have your iron levels checked with a finger-prick test, and you’re asked a few questions about your recent travels, health, medication and more, just to ensure you’re completely eligible to give blood that day. For example, if you’d just had a violent bout of the Noro Virus the day prior, you probably won’t be safe to donate. (I’d bloody hope not, anyway.)

Lastly, you’re taken to a reclining chair and boom, the needle is in your arm and your blood is flowing out to oblivion.

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I’m sorry, I’m inappropriately joking as usual – it’s nothing like a horror movie, no helpless screams in the distance to be heard. The nurses are gentle and you barely feel a thing; after all, it takes two seconds for the needle to go in, and even if you catch a lil’ sting for a millisecond, you’re literally going to help save someones life with your donation, so it’s worth it.

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They take a pint of blood out, which sounds crazy, but your body actually replaces it all within 24 hours. It takes about 5-10 minutes to finish, so you can just sit back and chill out (or if you’re like me, glue your eyes to Candy Crush for a quick binge.) Once you’re done, the needle is removed and you sit up slowly.

Now, the most invigorating part of the whole process: THE SNACK TABLE. Just to make sure you don’t pass out (this won’t happen) you’re highly encouraged to eat some biscuits, chocolate or crisps, washed down with a cuppa or a squash. It doesn’t really take much encouragement from me to gorge on something with a high sugar content, so this is a treat if anything.

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Remember, after giving blood, you should avoid drinking alcohol (slightly difficult for some) and also refrain from strenuous exercise or heavy lifting (absolutely marvellous.)

As for before giving blood, it’s really important that you’ve eaten enough healthy food throughout the day and stayed hydrated. No skipping meals or snacks – use it as an excuse to load up on the carbs.

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Then, you’re done. Blood donations are vital for people with medical conditions or undergoing surgeries – the transfusions are quite literally life-saving. If you can, I urge you to sign up – it’s a brilliant thing to do which literally takes a few hours out of your year. The difference you could make to a strangers life is phenomenal.

I understand some people can’t donate because of medical reasons, or have a genuine fear of needles, but if not… what are you waiting for? Sign up today and make your contribution.

If this blog post has interested you to become a blood donor, you can sign up here. 

I hope you enjoyed! Have a great weekend.

Love, Dayna x

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