Caring Corner

Donating Blood? Here’s What You Need To Know

If you're looking for ways how to volunteer and help others, donating your blood is a simple and heroic way you can make an impact today.

Volunteering your time to help out in charities and foundations is highly admirable. But if you wish to do more, or perhaps you're trying to work around your packed schedule, donating your blood is a great option. By donating blood, you're helping secure the lives of people who may have gotten into accidents, are undergoing surgeries, or are fighting cancer and other diseases.

Every day, many people need blood transfusions within and outside of your community. However, due to restrictions brought by COVID-19, hospitals experienced more blood shortages which could negatively affect emergency transfusions. Switching to online classes and remote work meant fewer people were encouraged to volunteer in blood donation drives.

Currently, scientists have yet to provide a substitute for human blood. And that is why it is essential to become a blood donor and help those who need it most. The whole process won't take much of your time, either. In more or less 30 minutes, you'd have already registered, donated, and are on the way to recovery.

To help you get started, we've included all the information you may want to know about becoming a blood donor.

"Is it safe to donate blood?"

We want you to know that donating blood in the country's verified and DOH-registered blood centers is safe. These facilities have an eligibility criteria that looks at one's weight and overall health status to make sure the person's fit for voluntary blood donation. They also have screening tests and use disposable sterile syringes and needles to ensure both the donor and recipient are safe from bloodborne infections.

Donating whole blood every 56 days or three months is also safe if you're a healthy donor. The blood volume that will be drawn out will depend on your body weight. You can rest assured that your body has replaced the volume of fluids taken out within three to five hours.

"Can a person with tattoos donate blood?"

As advised by the Philippine Red Cross, having old tattoos shouldn't prevent you from donating. People with tattoos are more than welcome to volunteer. However, if the tattoo or piercing was done recently or about three months ago, you would want to wait.

Unclean needles may carry bloodborne viruses like HIV, hepatitis B, and C. Physicians assigned to draw blood screen these types of donors to ensure that all recipients are safe. As a donor, you should also be responsible for getting tattoos from trusted tattoo shops and establishments.

"Can diabetics donate blood?"

People with diabetes can safely donate blood. However, people with type 1 diabetes who take diabetes medication that contain insulin may not be allowed. Donating your blood while being insulin-dependent can risk your safety.

What to do before donating blood

If it's your first time being a blood donor, you want to make sure you have enough energy. Here are some reminders before undergoing a blood extraction at your nearest donation center.

Drink plenty of fluids

Make sure you're well-hydrated before donating, especially if you're a plasma donor. As recommended by the American Red Cross, drink about 2 cups or 16 ounces of water. Blood is primarily composed of water, so keeping your hydration levels up saves your blood pressure from dropping too low and making you lightheaded. Not to mention, being hydrated also makes it easier for physicians to find your veins.

Eat well beforehand

You'd want to eat your meal a couple of hours before to ensure it's adequately digested before blood is drawn. Doing so helps to keep your blood sugar stable so you won't feel queasy during the donation. You can also eat some extra snacks for good measure.

. Check the medications you're taking

Certain medications you've taken recently may prevent you from donating your blood. Taking aspirin 36 hours prior, for example, is not recommended if you're a platelet donor as it disrupts platelet function. This should be fine if you're planning to donate whole blood.

What to do after donating blood

After the procedure, you should focus on recovery. Here are key reminders to help you recover faster so you can return to your usual routine.

Get some good rest

Give your body enough time to replace the blood. Lie down and take it easy for 15 to 20 minutes. You may want to skip vigorous physical activity and heavy lifting for the day to avoid nausea.

Store up on iron

After donating, eat iron-rich food to help your body absorb more of the mineral. Some foods rich in iron are beef, chicken, leafy greens like kale and spinach, tuna, and whole wheat bread. If you're a frequent donor, you may also want to take multivitamins with iron to ensure your body is properly replenished. Here's one we recommend in MyPharma.

Replenish with Sangobion Iron Plus

With multivitamins and calcium, Sangobion Iron Plus helps you replace iron in your body. This iron supplement provides complete and reliable treatment for a wide range of anemias such as iron deficiency and anemia during pregnancy.

Where to donate blood in the Philippines

If you're ready to be a blood donor, you can go to your nearest blood service facility. These could be the Philippine Blood Center, Philippine Red Cross (PRC), and certain LGUs and NGOs. You can visit PRC's website to locate blood banks across the country.

You can also keep your eye out for mobile blood drives spearheaded by local communities, schools, and government organizations.

Wishing to help others doesn't have to take too much of your time. A few minutes and hours in the day are enough to impact someone's life. You're not only saving one life by donating your blood, you're also helping families to have more reasons to smile and make memories. — (MyPharma)

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