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Blood Donors Faq

The demand for blood continues to increase, yet only 7% of the population donates.

Do I have enough blood in my body to donate?
Yes. The body contains 10 to 12 units of blood. Your whole blood donation is approximately one unit

Is donating blood safe?
Donating blood is a safe process. Needles and bags used to collect blood are used only once and then discarded, making spread of infection to the donor is not possible.

How often can one give blood?
People may donate whole blood once every 56 days. The waiting period between donations can be different for other blood components. For example, donating only platelets in a process called aphaeresis requires only a 3 day wait before a person can give again. Donating two units of red blood cells through a similar process doubles the waiting period to 112 days.

When should I not donate blood?
Ans. You should not donate blood if you are below 18 years or above 60 years of age and weigh below 40kgs. You are not supposed to donate blood if you are suffering from any of the following conditions:
Permanently, from
• Diabetes
• Heart disease
• Tuberculosis
• Kidney disease
• HIV/AIDS
• Serum Hepatitis (Australia Antigen Positive)
• Or prone to vasovagal attacks.
Temporarily, if you
• Have fever
• Have anemia
• Are on some medication
• Are pregnant/lactating/menstruating
• Had taken any vaccination in last 6 weeks
• Had suffered from malaria/typhoid in last 1 year
• Had jaundice other than serum hepatitis in last 3 years.

How do I know if I am eligible to donate blood?
You must be in good health, be at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 40kgs. You will also need to pass physical and health history reviews prior to donating. There is no upper age limit on your ability to donate. Conditions that require a temporary deferral are pregnancy, travel to certain parts of the world, inoculations, some health conditions and certain medications..

How can I ensure a pleasant donation experience?

Take a good sleep and a healthy breakfast or lunch before you donate blood, and a good breakfast or lunch before your donation. Drink fluids like juice, milk, or soda ahead of time. Take your normal medications as prescribed. Ensure you have adequate iron level by making iron-rich foods part of your daily diet. These include red meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, nuts, raisins and prunes. During your donation, relax. After your donation, have some juice and cookies. Then you can go about your daily activities, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the remainder of the day.

Any side effects of blood donations?
No ! Not really. Do ask any regular blood donor about it. A small percentage of first time donors may psychologically feel a little dizzy but only for a few minutes. Staff at the blood bank will ensure that your first blood donation is a happy experience. We are sure this will make you a regular blood donor. In fact there are many people who have donated more than 100 times in their life time.

Should I give blood now or wait until I am called?
Under normal circumstances eligible donors are encouraged to donate as often as possible. During emergency circumstances please listen to media reports in your area and donate as requested.

How long does it take to donate blood?
The whole process takes about an hour. It starts with registration, a health history and a mini-physical. Then comes the actual donation, which usually takes less than 10-12 minutes. Afterward, you will be asked to spend a few minutes in the "canteen" where you can have a light refreshment before returning to your normal activities.

What happens to my unit of blood?
After you donate, your blood is tested for HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis, Malaria etc to be sure that it is safe as possible for a patient to receive.
• blood group and type are identified.
• A blood group card is mailed to the donor
• Before the blood is issued for transfusion, it is cross matched with the patient's blood
• Donor's blood must match with that of the patient
• You cannot get AIDS by donating blood

Is donating blood painful?
Donating blood is not painful and is completely safe for the donor. It takes approximately 10 minutes to donate blood and about 10 minutes for post donating rest and refreshment. Only 350 to 450 ml blood is taken which gets replaced in the body within 24 hours.

How much blood is taken — won't it make me weak?
A blood donation equals approximately one unit of blood. The average adult body has 10-12 units. The vast majority of people will not feel any different because of the donation. A very small percentage may experience temporary dizziness, but some rest and fluids will help you feel better quickly. Your body will replace the lost fluid within 24 hours.

Can I get communicable diseases by donating blood?
No. There is no possibility of getting communicable diseases by donating blood as the blood collecting set and needles used are sterile and also disposable, i.e. they are destroyed after single use.

Post donation care?
• Eat and Drinks something before leaving
• Drink more liquids than usual in next 4 hours
• Avoid consuming alcohol until you have eating something
• Don't smoke for next 30 minutes
• Avoid climbing steps for next 30 minutes
• If there is bleeding from the phlebotomy site, raise the arm and apply pressure
• If fainting or dizziness occurs, either lie down or site with the head between the knees
• Resume all normal activities if no symptoms occur
• Remove bandage next day.

Can I smoke after giving blood?
Probably best that you don't for about two hours after donating, as it might make you feel dizzy or faint.

Can I go back to work on the same day?
Unfortunately the answer is yes. However, there's always an 'however' - and it's unwise to give blood just before undertaking a hazardous hobby or job, such as driving a crane or driving in the emergency services.

I gave up smoking and I am using patches, will I still be able to give blood?
Yes, probably. If you suffer from any symptoms as a result of quitting, we suggest you only give blood once those symptoms have passed. Most patches, nasal sprays and gum do not prevent you from giving blood but bring them along to the session and show the nurse or doctor before donating.

I've heard that blood is used for research. Isn't it all needed by patients?
When you come to donate blood the leaflet you are asked to read, tells you that occasionally blood that is not needed for transfusion maybe used for research and development work. All such use is carefully controlled, ethical approval is obtained where appropriate and no donor is identified.

I am a vegetarian, can I give blood?
There is no problem with vegetarians giving blood. The red blood cells, which require iron from the stores in your body, will need to be replaced after the donation. Provided you eat a well-balanced diet you should be able to replenish your iron supply within a month. However, this may take longer because you are a vegetarian.

What is blood component?

• Red blood Cells
They contain hemoglobin, a substance responsible for carrying oxygen to the body tissues. Loss of Red blood Cells, which can occur due to many causes, results in inadequate amount of oxygen being supplied to the body's tissues.
Uses: Concentrated Red blood Cells are used for treating various types of anemia which do not respond to drug therapy. For example, victims of accidents who suffer major blood loss, patients having bleeding disorders, kidney disorders and for major surgeries.

• White blood Cells
They are known as leucocytes. White blood Cells are the body's defense against disease, they help to fight infection. Some destroy bacteria, others produce antibodies against bacteria and viruses.
Uses: Patients suffering from Septicemia are treated with White blood Cells. In certain situation, especially in newborn babies with serious infection and low White blood Cells count, transfusion of White Blood Cells may help to overcome these infections.

• Platelets
They are the sticky blood cells. The sticky quality enables Platelets to form clots over torn or damaged blood vessels from which bleeding occurs.
Uses: Platelets in large quantities are transfused into patients
whose bone marrow does not produce enough Platelets, such as those suffering from leukemia, hemophilia and those undergoing chemotherapy.

• Plasma
Plasma is composed mainly of water, salts and many proteins. It is the fluid portion of body which is processed by freeze drying so that it can be stored at normal temperatures over longer periods of time. Whole blood is suitable for transfusion for only thirty five days after it has been donated, while plasma from any blood not used during this period can be converted into dried Plasma and can be preserved for longer donation.
Uses: Patients suffering from burns, crush injuries, hemophilia, liver disorder etc. require plasma.

• Factor VIII preparations
Cryoprecipitate, a product prepared from Plasma contain a blood clotting substance called factor VIII. This is absent in patients suffering from hemophilia.

What is the most common blood type?
The approximate distribution of blood types as follows. Distribution may be different for specific racial and ethnic groups: