Ever been approached by strangers asking you if you would donate blood? Is it safe, is it dangerous? Let’s find out and start to donate blood in Singapore!
What is a blood donation?
Blood donation is a process whereby an individual voluntarily gives up some of his or her blood to be used for transfusion or other medical purposes.
By donating blood, you are potentially helping to save lives because your blood can be used to help patients who require blood transfusion when they suffer blood loss during surgery.
For many, blood donation may seem horrific with needles and a tremendous amount of blood drawn from your body.
However, blood donation is proven to be safe with millions of donating blood every year.
In Singapore alone, 15 units of blood are being used every hour, while 400 units of blood are required daily to keep up with the local transfusion needs of patients.
Note: 1 unit refers to 525ml of blood.
What are blood banks?
Blood banks are facilities that collect, separate and store blood.
The careful management of blood is exceptionally vital because mixing up the wrong blood types can be fatal when wrongly used for unsuitable patients.
Blood banks must also ensure that the blood collected do not carry unwarranted viruses or other pathogens which are dangerous for use.
How to donate blood in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are some general requirements that you must fulfil before you can donate blood:
- You must be aged between 16 and 60
- Weigh at least 45kg
- Good health with no infections or fever for the past week
- Haemoglobin must be above 12.5 g/dL for females and 13.0g/dL for males
Moreover, more criteria are depending on what applies to you, and this additional information is stated on the Health Sciences Authority’s website.
Locations that you can donate blood include blood banks or any mobile donation location:
Organisations may set up mobile locations in areas such as schools, public areas or within other companies to promote the act of blood donation.
Is it safe? What to do before drawing blood?
As long as the equipment is perfectly sterile, drawing of blood is generally safe.
Drink plenty of water before your appointment because this will cause your blood volume to increase.
An increased blood volume will enlarge your veins, making them easier to access.
What happens during blood drawing?
- One of your arms will be hyperextended, and a tourniquet (which is a strap used to apply pressure to your limb) will be placed around it.
- At this point of time, you will feel pressure on that arm as you may observe your veins “pop out” from your skin.
- Now, the nurse or doctor will use an alcoholic rub to sanitise the area intended for the needle to enter.
- The nurse or doctor would insert a needle at a 15 to 30-degree angle into the vein, and you may feel slight discomfort or pain.
- The needle draws the blood which will be transferred into a blood pack to be stored away.
What to do after drawing blood?
The removal of red blood cells may reduce the volume of oxygen being transferred to your brain.
This causes slight dizziness or headaches, especially if you get up too quickly.
Avoid exerting too much energy as you have a higher propensity to faint during this temporary period.
Additionally, the removal of white blood cells may render you more susceptible to bacteria, viruses or diseases.
Avoid raw, uncooked food and eat foods that are rich in iron to aid in the replenishment of the lost blood.
Take ample rest and nutritious food so that you can recuperate well and get back up to speed.
Benefits of blood donation
There are several health benefits of blood donation:
- Reduce iron overload
- Replenishment of blood cells
- Lower heart attack risk
Excessive iron in the body may result in organ damage when the body deposits the additional substances in areas including the liver or the heart.
Additionally, the lowered blood volume also reduces the risk of heart attacks as it prevents blood from clotting.
Reduction in blood cells through drawing blood causes your bone marrow to generate new blood cells to replace the old.
One blood pack can be used to save the lives of three people.
Blood donation proves to be a mutually beneficial activity as your donation will not only save lives but is also helpful to your health.
We hope that you have become better informed about blood donations and will make a trip down to your local blood bank!
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