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I first chose to give blood a few years back, after a discussion with my mum about blood types. She has a rare blood type, so I wanted to know if I did too. Any blood is important but for those with the rare types, every donation is that much more special, as stocks can sometimes run low. A small tip for those about to give blood, keep hydrated on the day of your donation and also make sure you eat something. If not you may be more likely to feel unwell after giving blood. The process is pretty easy, as can vary a little depending on whether it is your first, or fifteenth time. You are always required to fill out a health questionnaire, this involves questions about medication, sexual activities, travel plans etc. Once this has been filled out and a sample of blood taken from your finger, then you are ready to take a seat, and wait your turn. Whilst doing this you are required to drink a pint of water. Just a warning, sometimes the water is a little warm and tastes funny, so whilst drinking a pint may seem like an easy task, sometimes this makes it a little more challenging. Whilst giving blood, the nurses and leaflets that are handed to you, always suggest that you do some form of exercises whilst lying down. This is to keep the blood circulating around your body and to try and prevent you from passing out after your donation. You may feel silly do thigh and bum clenches in a room full of people, but in my experience it does help with the fainting, plus it gives you something else to think about, other than the needle sticking out of your arm. After the blood has been taken is a good experience. You feel good for having given blood, but you also get free tea, juice and biscuits, and sometimes crisps, if you are lucky. This is the time to put your feet up, have a chat with other donators and the friendly staff and enjoy a nice cup of tea and bourbon. Another warning and tip, feeling faint is not ok. If you do begin to feel ill, tell someone straight away. They will do everything to make you feel better and to keep you out of harms way. Once you feel 100% better you are free to leave and to go about your day; as long as your day does not involve heavy lifting, excessive exercising or very hot showers and baths.
I got a letter in the post from the NHS about blood donation today so I thought I'd give a cheeky little review on it! As you do... The mentality behind giving blood is very simple. Almost all of us will, at some point in our lives, need a blood donation - most often during a surgical procedure. Consequently, we rely on each other to make sure that any blood we lose during the operation will be replaced sufficiently, should any loss occur. Giving blood could help save a life - and, weirdly enough, you could even end up receiving exactly the same blood you donated a few weeks ago! Very unlikely, I know - but still, it's a nice thought to think that giving blood today could save your OWN life in a few weeks' time :) I don't think I need to review the process of what occurs when giving blood in too much detail, but I'll briefly go through it. Most blood donations are held in reasonably large rooms - they always seem to be in churches, for some reason? Don't think that's a MUST, though :P If you're donating for the first time, you have a few forms to fill in, with all the usual details - name, age, address, and so on. Next, everyone giving blood must fill out & sign a form regarding their health - this includes questions on: 1 Lifestyle - mostly concerning whether you are, or have had sex with someone who is, HIV positive, and other questions on hepatitis B & C, and illegal drugs. 2 'Since your last donation...' - these questions relate to acupuncture, illnesses, piercings, operations, tablets and so on. NOTE: you ARE, repeat, ARE allowed to give blood if you've had piercings, of course! The questions are just so that further questions can be asked - eg the medicine you are taking might not be compatible with giving blood. 3 'Other risks' - such as CJD, other illnesses. 4 Travel history - commonly referring to 'unexplained fevers'. There ARE, however, certain reasons for which you should not give blood - such as recently being pregnant, a recent body piercing, or recent (within the last week) dental work. Check the website, or ring up 0300 123 123, for full details). Centres will then check the iron levels of the blood, by making a small prick in the end of one of your fingers and testing it in a special substance. This is for your own safety - if your iron levels are too low, giving blood may cause you to become anaemic. (in fact, when my mum had her iron levels checked, she was anaemic even before giving blood! She was referred to the doctor :P) If this is fine, you'll be asked to drink a pint or so of water. This is to ensure you're fully hydrated. Then, finally, you're allowed to give blood! The needle is placed in the inside of your elbow, and around a pint of blood is taken. This usually takes around 5-15 minutes - but there's no hurry ;) If you're taking a very long time, you will usually stop donating after around 15 minutes anyway, no matter how much blood you have actually given. Then you're free to go! However, there is always a food & drink station, which I strongly recommend going to - even if it is just to down a juice and a few biscuits. This might save you fainting on the way home! You should then take the rest of the day pretty easy. No heavy lifting, and you shouldn't really do any kind of intensive sport, either. If you have any complications, such as bruising around the needle site (these are rare), then check with your doctor. Hope that's given you an insight into the world of giving blood! And please, if you're afraid of going - you won't know until you've tried it. Go along with a friend or a family member, and make an afternoon of it. You could, and WILL, save someone's life. If that's not worth it, I don't know what is. **NOTE - I am not a qualified doctor (yet), or any other kind of medical professional. This should NOT be taken as qualified medical opinion. If you have ANY questions, check with your GP, on the website www.blood.co.uk , or by ringing 0300 123 123**
I have been giving blood for the past 20 years. I started as a student nurse and because I was involved in the process of administering blood to patients, it felt like the right thing to do. The first session I went to was a drop-in session where I literally just turned up and registered my details and asked to donate. Since then I tend to make an appointment online because I've found that by doing it that way there is much less hanging around. Plus if I have an appointment date and time I'm much more likely to make the effort to go. When I go I am first asked a series of questions about myself which assessed whether it was safe and appropriate for me to donate blood on that session. Some of the questions are quite personal, particularly questions about your health and about sexual activities, and then others are more general, such as the recent countries you have travelled to and when you last had dental treatment. Sometimes I'm asked these questions directly by a screener and other times I'm simply handed a questionnaire to complete. I have never been excluded on the basis of my answers, but I think if you were excluded for any reason then it would be done discretely. After you've done this a few times the answers become pretty routine and you are able to anticipate if there is anything in your recent behavior or activities which are likely to be an issue. The next step is to have an iron test which only involves a small prick being made in your finger and a drop of blood being taken for testing. The result is immediate and if there are any concerns that you could be anaemic then you will be denied the chance to give blood on this visit. This has happened to me a few times because I am anaemic from time to time. They then advise you wait another few months before trying again. Once the preliminaries are completed, you are invited to lie down on a bed in a communal area. I have to admit that I like the fact that it is a communal area because it means you get to chat to other people who are going through the same process and if you're a little nervous (as I usually am) it helps to have that contact with people. Once you're comfortable, the phlebotomist / nurse rubs some anaesthtic cream into your arm and then places a tourniquet on your arm before inserting the needle. Just to be warned, the needle is fairly big, but with the anaesthetic cream it really isn't painful. Initially there are some blood samples taken and then a tube is attached to a bag and your blood is drained into a bag. Don't worry, they take a safe amount. I guess in total it takes about ten minutes. Once the blood donation is finished the needle is removed and you press on your arm for a few minutes. After I've given blood I do sometimes feel a little light-headed for a short time and I'm encouraged to stay lying or sitting until I feel better. I'm always offered a drink and a couple of biscuits - which does help. After ten minutes or so the dizziness leaves and I feel okay to go on my way. I do have to admit through that I tend not to plan anything strenuous for the rest of the day because it does take a little out of me. By the next morning however I feel completely back to normal. I'm still a nurse and regularly administer blood to patients who, quite simply, could die without it. If you donate blood you really are a life saver. It's not hard, its not painful and its not traumatic and I urge all of you to donate if you are able. http://www.blood.co.uk/giving-blood
I'm astonished by the sheer amount of topics you can review on Dooyoo! I thought it would be nice to review my experience of giving blood in the hope that it will give others the push to go and donate. Firstly, it is so easy to sign up. Just go to http://www.blood.co.uk/ to find your nearest donation centre and dates available. You can choose a time to suit so, and there are so many centres you probably won't have to travel too far (many colleges, community centres and town halls act as donation centres). You don't even need to book a time/date (although it is recommended), you can just turn up and take the next available slot. You will then fill in a quick questionnaire about your life style which will screen out high risk candiates. The national blood service unfornately cannot accept donations from; "men who have sex with men"; people who have received blood since 1980; people with HIV/other STDs; and people who have had tattoos/piercings in the last couple months. These are just a few examples of people who are classed as high risk for infection, (which could be deadly for the receiving patient). FOr the full list, go to: https://secure.blood.co.uk/c11_cant.asp You then have a private 1 to 1, so you can ask any questions and they will test your blood for iron - for this reason it is highly recommended that you eat and drink plenty on the day ouf your donation. This is done by pricking a finger and taking a drop of blood - this is completely painless! If your blood has enough iron, and you 'pass' the questionnaire, then you are safe to donate and wait until a nurse is ready to see you. You will then be called up and laid down on a trolley/stretcher. They clean your inner elbow, apply pressure and locate a suitable vein to take the blood from. They will then skillfully insert a needle, and you will feel a sharp scratch for a couple seconds. This is the worst part, and it isn't even that bad. The pain isn't unbareable by any means, and it lasts a few seconds. They will then reassure you, and then you watch your bag fill up with blood. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to take the required amount (approximately a pint). After that, they will take the needle out, apply a plaster and give you the usual advice of not to do any heavy lifting or exercise and drink plenty of water. You will then be sent over to the 'cool down' area, in which you are offered drinks and snacks. Help yourself! After all, you need the energy and fluid to reproduce the blood you have just donated. You will then be asked if you want to donate again, and can make your next appointment there and then. That's you done then, the whole process takes less than an hour and just think of the act of kindness you have just performed. The blood you donate could save lives (as the blood is split into several components and each can be given seperateley). And lets face it, for something that is so easy and quick to do, and could potentially save several lifes, there is no reason not to do it. Also, you get free snacks, stickers, and there is quite a good reward system to give you a little something for your benevolence. http://www.blood.co.uk/giving-blood/donor-award-scheme/whole-blood-donor/
I thought that for my 200th Dooyoo review (wow, I can't believe I've been on the site for so long!) I would review giving blood. I do have a bit of an ulterior motive - unfortunately, I can't give blood for at least a year and possibly not after that. I thought that if just one person reads this review and decides to go and give blood it might make up for me not being able to! I only went to give blood for the first time when I was 23. I had wanted to do it for a few years, but never seemed to have the time or energy. On this occasion, however, the blood people had come to my place of work, so with the prospect of finally being able to give blood (and miss a bit of work into the bargain ;-)) off I trotted. Most people, when they go to give blood for the first time, will just drop in while passing but it is possible to book an appointment online too. When you get there you have to fill in a form asking about your health, places you have travelled, your sexual history etc. All the information is confidential and is only to ensure the blood is healthy. Once the form is filled in (there might be a short wait depending on how busy it is) you will go and see a nurse who will check it and take a blood sample from your finger to measure your haemoglobin (iron) levels. This is quick and practically painless. If it is below a certain level they will not let you give blood as they need to be sure you will have a high enough level of haemoglobin once they have taken a pint of blood from you! If everything is ok you will be taken to lie down on a trolley and another nurse will insert the needle into the crease of your elbow. You get to choose the arm! I find that this doesn't hurt very much at all but I am slightly sqeamish and can't watch the needle going in. I am fine so long as I keep my face turned firmly the other way! You have to squeeze a bit of newspaper in your hand to keep the blood moving, but in no time the bag will be full (hopefully!) and it's time for your cup of tea and a biscuit! It's probably the most rewarding cuppa and biccy you'll ever have, as you have done something unselfish and that could potentially save someone's life. It's important to rest after giving blood and drink plenty of fluid. I actually felt quite faint after giving blood, but only because I was daft, didn't drink enough water, and went to the pictures because I thought I was ok. If I'd only stayed at home and relaxed with a book I would have been fine! Unfortunately, I've only been able to give blood on one occasion. The first, third and fourth times I tried I was turned down for having low haemoglobin levels. This is probably because I am a vegetarian and don't get enough iron! In fact, last time I went my haemoglobin was so low that they said I couldn't go back for a year. They actually sent someone over to explain things to me as they could tell I was quite disappointed. He said, "well you do look a bit pale"! Naturally I am gutted I can't give blood but I can try and encourage everyone else! All the nurses and everyone involved are lovely and happy to answer any questions you may have and/or reassure you if you need it. It is possible to register on the Internet with Blood Donor Online where you can update your details, view sessions coming up and even book onto one to reduce your waiting time. Giving blood is a really worthwhile thing to do and you will feel great afterwards!
I have been giving blood for about three years now and thought I would just write a few words on the process and my experiences having recently given my seventh donation. If I'm honest I cannot remember why I decided to start giving blood. I think one day I just asked myself if I could come up with a good reason why I shouldn't and then when I had nothing I decided to book myself an appointment and see how I got on. I say good reason as I really do not like needles and the whole concept of one being placed in my arm but I don't have a fear of them or anything like that so I wasn't accepting this as a good enough excuse! To book my first appointment I visited www.blood.co.uk (you will find a lot of information on here and hopefully answers to most questions potential donors may have. There is also a lot of interesting information including the current stock levels of the various blood types). The website is very straightforward and easy to use and navigate and you will be able to find the dates, times and locations near to your home or work or wherever suits. My first appointment was at a nearby church. On arrival I was greeted and when it became apparent it was my first time, one of the nurses went through the procedure with me which involves reading one of two folders dependant on whether you are a first timer or a returning donor, filling out a questionnaire which asks you a number of questions including about your health, sexual experience and where you have travelled in the past year. Whilst some of these questions might seem invasive, it is obviously necessary to determine whether there might be any implications and problems with the blood that you donate. I have been sent back once before without being able to donate as I had recently been to the Dominican Republic which is a country deemed a malaria risk so as a precaution you are required to wait six months before being eligible to donate again. In order to avoid this in the future, when I am due to give blood, if I have been somewhere on holiday that I think may carry a risk I telephone and check to save myself a wasted journey. When you have registered and given your first donation, every 16 weeks (approximately 4 months) you will receive a letter inviting you to donate again. This will have the same questionnaire that you filled out on your first visit so you can do this at home to save time at the place where you donate. You can then phone or go online to make an appointment or just simply turn up on the date. Obviously if you make an appointment you can manage your time better as there can sometimes be a wait for those with no appointment. On my last visit the whole process lasted about an hour and a half (it normally takes 30-40 minutes) and this was due to staffing shortages. If for whatever reason you are not able to make the donation session (in my experience you will be invited to attend the location where you donated on your last visit) on the date you were invited, you will receive another letter approximately every two weeks inviting you to attend. Contained within this letter is a leaflet that advises you of the times and dates of other local sessions that may be more convenient. Now onto the donation itself. The specifics of what happens may be slightly different depending on the location but I would expect the processes to be identical. Having read your folder and filled in your questionnaire, the next step is to have a brief private chat with one of the nurses where they ask you any questions that are relevant to the answers on your questionnaire, such as where you may have travelled, you then sign a declaration and have a blood iron test. Your middle finger on either hand (cannot have a ring on it) is then pricked and a small sample of blood is taken and dropped into a solution to check the iron levels. If they are too low for whatever reason you will not be able to donate. This process is completely painless and you will hardly notice your finger has been pricked. If you are slightly squeamish you can always look away as the nurse will squeeze your finger to ensure there is a drop of blood that can be used. This is sucked up in a very small pipette and dropped into the solution. Again, this is not something I enjoy (I suppose not many necessarily would) but it is the idea of what happens rather than what actually happens (if that makes sense!) that I don't particularly like! Once everything is ok here you then go into another room where there will be numerous beds hopefully all being used by people donating. You may be asked or invited to take a good drink of water to ensure you remain hydrated given that they will be removing a quantity of fluid from you. You will then wait until called to a vacant bed. The nurse will then ask you what are you wish to donate from and you will lie down ready to go. As a security, throughout the different stages you will be asked your date of birth and possibly your home address. Once they are happy you are who you say you are you will have a strap placed on your arm which is inflated to put pressure on your veins to make it easier for the nurse to find with the needle. The nurse will then rub an anaesthetic solution onto the area and leave this for a few moments. The next stage is then for the needle to be inserted. Again my experience is that this is a pain free experience and, as you will be warned, all you really feel is a little pinch. At worst the experience is uncomfortable rather than painful. To be honest I tend to look away whilst this is being done! In total just under a pint of blood is taken. At the start of the donation the nurse will attach some small vials to the tubes to collect a small amount of blood (I believe this is what is screened to check everything is healthy). After this you will be left whilst the donation continues with a nurse visiting you periodically just to check on you. When I am donating I have been told my blood comes out quite quickly so I usually take about 5-6 minutes. I think the process generally takes 5-10 minutes. When nearing the end of the donation I sometimes experience a dull ache in my arm but again this is in no way painful. Once the required amount of blood has been taken a small alarm will alert a nurse that you are done and they will then remove the needle and place a plaster on your arm. You will be asked to sit on the bed for a minute or two before being told you are done and invited to go and take some complimentary refreshments which consists of a drink, hot or cold, and a selection of biscuits, crisps and chocolate. As a small thank you for your donations there is also a reward scheme for regular donors when you reach milestones such as your 5th, 10th, and 25th donations. My opinion is that this is unnecessary but if it leads to more people getting involved then it would be worth it. As I stated at the start, I began donating as I had no reason not to. On average it is probably only going to take up 3 or 4 hours of your life each year so I do not think that is a lot of time to do something so charitable. There is currently a campaign running regarding organ donors and asks something along the lines that if you would be happy to receive an organ from someone, does it not seem right to therefore list yourself as a potential donor? I think this is a valid question when it comes to blood donation as well. This small thing that I do does give me a little sense of satisfaction thinking that I might be helping someone at a time when they really need it and for me that's enough! There will be many more questions that potential donors may have and I would strongly advise looking at the blood.co.uk website for the answers.
Giving blood is often described as the best gift you can give or the other advertising campaign, do something amazing today. I must admit I have been an organ donor since I was 18 years old. I feel very strongly about helping others and have no problem with my body parts being used when I have finished with them. Giving blood though is a different matter, if I were not bothered by blood or needles I would also have been giving blood since the age of 18 (although you can give blood from 17). My mother and sister both consistently give blood and have done for many years, I suppose if my dad did to then I would have tried sooner rather than later. My dad however, isn't keen on blood and needles either, I mean we will both have injections; we just wouldn't subject ourselves to unnecessary excess. I have always felt guilty about not giving blood especially as if I needed a transfusion I would have one. I have always said, perhaps they should make it compulsory like they have with organ donation now, unless you opt out, you automatically become an organ donor 18 years old. Perhaps if compulsory blood donation was bought in, then we wouldn't be running so low in our blood banks. I appreciate not everyone can give, and if you can't, lucky you (to an extent). But if there is no medical reason why you can't, I think you should at least attempt it. I must admit I feel like I can do anything now, I feel a lot braver and really feel silly for having been putting it off for so long. The process while it is relatively simple, consists of you filling in a form, giving your details and your recent travel history, you are then taken for a pin prick test (which determines whether or not you are able to donate on that day), then you have a drink and jump on the bed. The average amount of time it takes to give blood is 7 minutes, while some people take longer, many take less. I must admit this is what 'freaked me out' the most. But after 10 minutes I was off the bed and having a drink with some biscuits. The needle going in, feels just like an injection and once it's in, I didn't feel it at all, I have heard some horror stories but I think if you lay calmly and just let it do what it's doing you'll be finished and on your way in no time. The other worry I had, is I bruise easily and I was worried I would have a massive bruise on my arm, but I had a small one is my elbow crease and that was it. I will try and give blood again 
I have been a blood donator for many years, as a nurse I feel almost obliged but want to help others when I can. I have seen many accidents and emergency surgeries, as well as ongoing illnesses that require blood transfusions. When you think of how little it actually is, it makes me wonder why more people do not give blood. I understand giving blood is not everyone's idea of a good time and out of my two daughters one goes religiously and has since her eighteenth birthday whilst the other just isn't keen on blood or needles and has very recently done it for the first time. She even said afterwards it wasn't that bad, and she will more than likely do it again. Giving blood takes approximately half an hour from start to finish and you are able to give every 16 weeks, 3 times a year. Does that time out of your year seem unreasonable? I often ask people when discussing this topic if they would happily accept blood if they needed it? If they answer yes, then I ask, why wouldn't you want to help someone else in the same position and what if when they ever need it, there is enough. I can not preach about giving blood, it is a personal choice but I wish more people would consider it and give it a try. It really is the best gift and with how long the process takes and the ease in which you can find your local blood sessions (which also run frequently), it is a simple and easy gift to give. Giving blood is also a good way to keep on top of your knowledge about yourself. All blood is tested for a range of things, HIV being one as well as sexually transmitted infections and diseases you may have caught abroad. It is also a good way to find out what your blood group is. Once you become a donor you receive a donor card with your blood type on and you blood donation registration number. The giving blood process is simple: 1) Answer the question sheet - where have you been etc. 2) Have a large drink and something to eat. 3) The pin prick - a tiny drop of blood is taken from your finger and tested to see whether or not you can give blood that day. 4) Give blood - this lasts on average 7 minutes. 5) Have a little sit down, a drink and a biscuit and you are on your way. If you have any queries about giving blood call the hotline on: 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk