What is your blood type? Come on, you want to know! Donate a few hours of your time and a unit of your blood to support our Canadian and USA blood services.
Blood services always needs healthy volunteers to donate a bit of their time and their blood. Why should you do it? Because patients in hospitals need blood and if blood supplies are low, it means that they have to wait for their blood transfusion, which could mean the difference between life and death.
Here’s the basic requirements to donate, but check the websites as requirements may vary slightly by region. You must be between 17 and 61 years of age for your first donation. Once you have started, you may donate up to age 71 yrs. Weight must be at least 110 lbs. You may donate every 56 days and be in good general health but if you have any concerns about a chronic condition, the nurse can counsel you.
Here’s how a typical donation will happen. Before going to the clinic you will eat a healthy dinner. If you feel well that day, ie. you don’t feel like you are coming down with a cold or flu, you will check in with the registrar and have a seat. Your name will be called, and if it’s your first time, you will give your name and information. The nurse will prick your finger to test the level of iron in your blood. You will then fill out a detailed questionnaire with personal questions about health habits, diseases and medications. A nurse will go over the questions with you in a private cubical. Your temperature and blood pressure will be taken.
The next step is to take a place on a cot. If you’ve ever had blood tests done, the procedure is exactly the same, except that the needle stays in your arm, with tube attached, so the blood gets collected in a small plastic pouch. The blood collection can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. When done, you rest for a few minutes, while applying pressure on the wound. Your blood will be sent off for extensive testing. If the tests find any issues, your doctor will be contacted, otherwise your blood will be processed, sent to a hospital and you have just saved a life or two!
If you feel fine you now head over to the snack table. This is the best part! Here you get your donate pin and juice and cookies of your choice and even a second helping if you wish. You will earn pins for certain milestones and the attendant will tell you the details. From here if you feel fine, you may head for home. The entire process can take 2-3 hours depending on whether it is your first visit to the clinic and how busy they are that day.
In a few weeks you will receive a blood donor card in the mail with your exact blood type. You can now impress your friends and get them to sign up too!
Here are the websites if you wish to check out the details and find out when the next clinic will be in your area.
In Canada: http://www.bloodservices.ca/
In the USA: http://www.americasblood.org/go.cfm
Please check the websites for phone numbers and call to speak to a nurse today. Thank you for donating!