Did you know that a single blood donation can save up to three lives? It’s true! January is National Blood Donor Month and there are dozens of opportunities to donate in Wichita this month. Before you donate, however, it’s important to be properly prepared. Here are a few tips and things to expect according to the American Red Cross.
Before the Donation
What to Do
There are several things to keep in mind as you prepare to donate blood. Starting a few weeks prior to your appointment, you should be sure to include iron-rich foods in your diet. Items like red meat, fish, poultry, spinach, beans, raisins and high-iron cereals are great options.
The night before you are scheduled to give blood, turn in early. A good night’s sleep is the first step on the way to a good donation experience.
Be mindful of your consumption. Drink an extra 16 ounces of water and eat a healthy meal before you donate. Avoid fatty foods like burgers, fries and ice cream before giving blood, as they can affect the results of some blood tests.
Make an appointment. In order for blood drives to operate in an organized and efficient manner, it is tremendously helpful for donors to schedule a time to give blood.
What to Bring
When you’re headed to a blood drive, don’t forget your donor card. You’ll also need a driver’s license and two additional forms of Identification.
If you are taking any medications, you will be required to give their names, so write them down and bring the list along if necessary.
In order to draw blood, those taking the donations will need access to your upper arm, so it is important to either wear or bring clothing that allows for easy access to the upper arm.
When you Arrive
Once you arrive for your donation, the process is quick and simple. You’ll register, undergo a brief physical, donate, and have a refreshment.
Step 1. Registration
Upon arrival, donors will be asked to register. Red Cross staff members will help you get signed in. They’ll also go over eligibility requirements and additional donation information with you. You’ll be asked to show your donor card and ID at this time.
Step 2. Mini-Physical
This step involves a brief, private and confidential interview regarding your health history. You’ll also be asked about places you have traveled. You’ll also have your pulse, body temperature, blood pressure and hemoglobin checked at this stage.
Step 3. Donation
For the 8-10 minute duration of your donation, you’ll be seated comfortably. Red Cross staff and volunteers will be available to answer any questions. Before you begin, tell the person taking your blood if you have a preferred arm. You may also show him or her any veins that have successfully been used to draw blood in the past.
Step 4. Refreshment
After donating, snacks await you in the refreshments area. You’ll be given a snack and a drink, which you should finish before leaving. You should remain at the site for about 10-15 minutes. After this time has passed, you may leave and continue with your normal daily activities.
After You’ve Successfully Donated
Congratulations! Your donation will help save lives. Over the next 24 hours, you should drink an extra four glasses of water and avoid alcohol. You may remove the wrap bandage on your arm (if you received one) within an hour of donating, but the strip bandage should remain on for the next several hours. Washing the area around your strip bandage with soap and water will help to avoid skin irritation. If the needle site begins to bleed, apply pressure and hold your arm straight up for 5-10 minutes or until it has stopped bleeding.
Take it Easy
Vigorous activity and heavy lifting are prohibited for the remainder of the day, so relax and be proud of your contribution. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, sit down or lie down until the feeling has passed. Activities in which fainting may lead to injury should be avoided for at least 24 hours.
Contact the American Red Cross at 1-866-236-3276 to report any additional health information or problems, or if you needed medical care after giving blood.
Learn more here.