Here are some VERY interesting facts you never knew about giving blood
Brought to you by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.
There’s really no need to be squeamish, after all it’s the stuff that gives us life!
Our bodies and the blood inside them are truly AMAZING. Who would have guessed that all the blood in our body travels 60,000 miles per day throughout our body and there's about 1 billion red cells in two to three drops of blood!
Some other fascinating facts for today include; one pint of blood can save three lives and it’s thought mosquitos prefer type O.
So, if you’ve never given blood before, here are some things you probably didn’t know about the easy-peasy process that's so important. Giving blood, you really do help someone in need as 67% of all donated blood is used in cancer treatment, 27% used in emergencies & for surgery (especially during cardiac procedures) and 6% saves the lives of premature and new-born babies.
Giving blood can leave you feeling super fulfilled and delighted you made a world of difference to someone.
Who can become a blood donor?
Before you pop to a clinic it’s worth doing the giveblood.ie eligibility quiz and checking the FAQ’s. Allow around one to two hours for the entire process – the donation part only takes about 10 or 15 minutes and most clinics don't require you to make an appointment. However IBTS does recommend making one if attending D'Olier St, Stillorgan or St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork.
Just made a trip to the dentist?
If you've just had a filling or you've gotten those pearly whites cleaned and scaled you'll need to wait 24 hours. If you had something like a tooth pulled (ouch) you will have to wait one week until after the extraction.
Don't know your blood type? No worries.
Adding to the ease of it all, you'll find out what blood type you are after you donate as it's printed on your blood donor card that's received after a few weeks after donating. What's also very cool is that donors get a text telling them what hospital their blood has gone to so they'll know they've truly helped someone in need.
With so many of us on the contraceptive pill, lots of us assume we’re of no use when it comes to giving blood. Well it’s not true. The pill won’t stop anyone from giving blood to those in need. Many other medications are also ok with giving blood but is always good to check with IBTS first, before heading along. Woop woop!
There’s no issue giving blood when it comes to endometriosis or the hormone replacement treatment that controls it. Once your symptoms have settled there’s no issue.
Cold and flu
You can still give blood after you’ve had the sniffles, but those symptoms must have disappeared and you must have finished any course of antibiotics before you can start giving away those much-needed blood cells.
Are you a new mama?
If you've just given birth to a precious bundle of joy, you'll need to wait until after baby's first birthday to head to the clinic and give blood. One in four of us require a blood transfusion in our lifetime so it's very important that Ireland has enough blood donors to keep up with the 3000 units of blood needed in hospitals EACH week.
Running a marathon?
There won’t be any giving blood for you we’re afraid. Exercise enthusiasts have to wait two weeks after a major event before they can go to the clinic to giveblood. However, if you exercise regularly the advice is to wait 24 hours before and after giving blood to make sure you are well hydrated and feeling great afterwards before hitting the gym again.
Yes it’s fun to say, but it’s also hugely important as it’s what carries that much needed oxygen around our precious bodies. Anyone wanting to give blood needs to have the correct levels which will be tested beforehand. If your levels are too low for donation on the day, don’t worry you can always come back in six months and you can eat your way to better Haemoglobin levels as deficiencies of iron, folic acid, vitamins C and B12 can all cause low levels.
Good foods for raising levels are red meat, prawns, tofu, and all the lushious leafy greens you can get your hands on - like spinach or kale. It’s also good to eat almonds, dates, lentils, almonds, peanuts, bananas, broccoli and beetroot. To make sure you're absorbing iron, it's a great idea to include vitamin C rich foods to your diet like papaya, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, & kiwis. Yummy!
Any brave daredevils out there who enjoy a spot of sky diving every now and again? Well you can’t be giving blood for up to 90 days afterwards. Who would have thought?!
Water, water everywhere
Drinking water is incredibly important for blood donation. Drink as much as you can manage before heading to a clinic and get a good meal in too! As the more hydrated you are the easier is for you to give blood. And yes, that means if you're sunburned and looking like a lobster, you're so dehydrated, you won't be able to give any blood.
Tattoo lovers will need to wait four months after getting their last piece of bodily artwork. So too will anyone who has had a piercing or semi-permanent makeup.
Off to the tropics
Who doesn’t love hopping on a plane and heading off on your holidays far, far away from all the chaos of it all? But if you’ve found yourself in a beautiful tropical destination recently, you’ll be waiting three months before you can give blood again. Here's a handy IBTS number you can call to check if your trip counts as tropical - 1850 731 137.
All donors must be above 50kgs (7 stone 12 lbs) to be eligible to donate, however female donors under 26 years of age who are less than 5’ 6” (168cm) in height AND less than 10st 3lb (65kg) in weight, will have their height and weight taken into consideration when at a clinic to estimate their total blood volume. People who fall under this category have a higher risk of fainting so lots of care is taken to make sure this won't happen.
Clearly, giving blood is one of the easiest things we'll ever do, but a major problem is that the number of people giving blood has dropped. In a bid to heighten people's awareness, IBTS have started a new campaign supported by the Rose of Tralee International Festival. As part of the mindful #MissingType initiative, oodles of organisations and companies such as Lidl, Dublin City Council, Irish Rail and many others are dropping the A, B and O from their logos.
When the letters A, B and O disappear, it looks very confusing, but when the blood types A, B and O vanish, it's a VERY scary situation for thousands of people and their families, hence why blood donation is SO important. So find out what blood type you are, drop those A's, B's and O's in support of the fantastic #MissingType campaign and why not give blood. It's one of the best things you'll ever do.
Brought to you by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.