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What happens in the blood donation process?

I thought it might be helpful to do a little post about donating blood, just to shed some light on the process involved, and to help make people aware of the difference they can make J. I know that not everyone is eligible to give blood, but if you are not sure if you are eligible or not, I would recommend heading over to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service website to check if you are likely to be eligible or not: https://www.giveblood.ie/Can-I-Give-Blood/Blood-Eligibility-Quiz/

The more popular reasons I have found as to why some people do not donate blood include the following:


1. They are afraid of needles – however I can honest;y say that I am squeamish myself with needles, and what I do is I look away when it goes in and all you feel is a scratch when it goes in and after that you do not really feel it at all! You just twirl the bone in your hand and cross and uncross your legs.


2. They are too busy – the whole process takes 1 hour in total (may be even quicker if you have an appointment as there is less waiting involved than a walk-in clinic. Plus, most of that time you can be answering emails etc on your phone anyway while you wait and after wards while you chill out and have some snacks! The actual donating process takes only a few minutes.


3. They are not sure about what the process involves – I will discuss this below! And absolutely will direct you to the IBTS website which is SUPER helpful!


4. They heard if you’re a woman under 26, you can no longer give – this is not true! I noticed last night. While I was donating, that I was the only female my age (21) that I could see in the room – and I thought that there used to be more before that rule was brought in. You can give blood as a female between 18 and 26 as long as you either weigh more than 50kg or are taller than 5 ft 6’.


The process:


Basically, it depends on whether you go to a pop-up clinic or to the service on d’olier st which you can make an appointment for. If you attend on d’olier street, you can make an appointment by phone to ensure you are not waiting long before giving blood. If you go to a walk-in service like the pop-up clinic, it might take a little bit longer depending on demand, but I recommend going with a buddy to keep you company while you wait! Plus that means double the donors! Once you are there, you will have a conversation with one of the IBTS staff, who check your donor card if you have one, or sign you up for one. If you have a card, they confirm your date of birth and address etc and basically check that the person sitting in front of them is the same as the records they have for you.


Before donating:

description of how to be well hydrated before, during and after donating blood
How to decrease your risk of feeling faint while donating

The interview with the nurse:

You fill in their checklist which asks questions about diseases you may have come across through travel, questions about your level of health, treatments you may have had, etc. They are super easy! And then you wait to be seen by a nurse who will go through those questions with you and checks your haemoglobin level, and basically decides whether or not you are eligible to donate. The nurses are always super nice (from my experience!) and there is no judgement at all about answers, they want you to be able to donate, they just have to be sure that you can, for both your own welfare and for the welfare of the patient receiving the blood.


Donating:

You lie down on a bed like they have at the doctor’s and they put a cuff on your arm to increase the blood pressure in the part of the arm where they will be taking blood from. They clean the part of your arm where the needle will go in first. You feel a pinch/scratch when the needle goes in, and while it is in, it is a good idea to cross and uncross your legs, to keep the blood flowing and to keep you from feeling faint. Trust me I am a squeamish person, but I still think the whole process is worth it. It can take a few minutes to get a pint’s worth of blood and it is worth your while staying for 15 minutes afterwards to chill out and have some snacks!! I never look at the needle and it suits me just fine.


After donating:

This is the coolest part I think. They text you and tell you where your blood has gone to! Whilst my grandad was in hospital, they texted me to tell me that my blood just so happened to go to that very hospital and that was very special to me, that I could help someone in a ward near my grandad! Donating just once can save 3 lives, and if we all leave it up to everyone else - supplies will seriously dip! Be a Good Samaritan 😉❤️and also encourage others to do the same! The ripple effect is powerful. I have posted about it myself, not to try to be a hero or anything, but just to maybe encourage others to do the same. You never know when you or someone you love might need to receive blood. Please see some helpful links below about donation. And I know that it is not something that everyone can do, but if you can, you should consider it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, live chat or by emailing me!


All the love!


Lauren x


Helpful links:

- Platelet donation (for those who can give even more!)

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