Donating blood is easy to do and can help so many people, yet too few of us step up. Let’s make a change.

June 14th is International Blood Donation Day, a day that should attract a lot of attention as blood donation is essential to the smooth functioning of medical facilities worldwide.

Why you should consider it
Blood is essential to human life and hospitals are always in need of blood to help patients with all kinds of conditions. When you donate blood, you are playing an important role in saving the lives of those who need blood. Three adult patients and up to six children can be helped just because of your one blood donation.

What actually happens when you donate blood?
The whole process of donating blood takes no more than 15 minutes. An additional 15 minutes is used to monitor you before you go back to your daily life.

Here is what you can expect:

  1. You’ll be asked a series of questions to see if you’re a suitable candidate.
  2. You’ll be given a brief medical examination that includes checking your blood pressure, weight and pulse.
  3. A drop of blood will be taken from your fingertip to check that giving blood will not make you anaemic. Being anaemic means your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the organs.

Is it safe?
The process of giving blood is very safe. You’ll only be able to donate if you are fit and healthy; the healthcare practitioners will not put you at risk. The needle and blood bag are also sterilised and only used once.

Is there an age limit to this process?
The age range for giving blood is usually 17 to 65 years. Healthy adults can give blood several times a year. Details for this can vary according to your location, so check with your local blood bank.

Who cannot donate blood?
According to the WHO, you cannot give blood if:

  • You are feeling unwell
  • You are anaemic
  • You are pregnant, have been pregnant within the last year or are breastfeeding
  • You have certain medical conditions, which may make you an unsuitable donor
  • You are taking certain medications, such as antibiotics.

Other circumstances include if there are lifestyle implications that could put others at risk; for example, if you’ve recently had a tattoo or piercing, if you have more than one sexual partner, if you’ve ever injected yourself with recreational drugs, or if you’ve recently contracted a sexually transmitted disease. “The age range for giving blood is usually 17 to 65 years. Healthy adults can give blood several times a year.”

But why me?
Being a responsible and caring citizen means considering how you can help others, especially when they have a medical emergency. Donating blood is free and helps save lives. Be a hero and visit your nearest blood bank today!

Contact your national blood transfusion service to donate