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Donate Blood & Save a Life

Home > Sydney > Charity | Fun Things To Do | Health and Fitness
by kirsten baz (subscribe)
I am a weekend adventurer and enjoy getting out and about with the family. I live in Brisbane and my main loves are food, sport and kid related activities
Published June 10th 2012
Giving blood is something that many of us think about but perhaps find a reason not to do it. In the words of that famous footwear brand - Just do it!

It's best to make an appointment by phoning the Blood Bank. If you don't you can turn up but may have to wait a while or be asked to come back another day. There are lots of donor centres throughout Brisbane. Find your nearest one by going to donor centres.

Once you're there, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. It only takes a few minutes. New donors will have to answer some additional questions. Some of the questions are quite personal but necessary to ensure the safety of the blood supply. Did you know our blood supply is one of the safest in the world?

When it's your turn to donate you are interviewed. Questions are based on the answers you have given on the questionnaire. There are a numbers of reasons you may not be eligible to donate on the day. If you are eligible you are weighed and your haemoglobin levels are tested by a finger prick.

Provided your iron levels and weight are within acceptable parameters - and most people's are- you are now ready to donate. You will be taken to a donor bed and asked which arm you prefer. I always choose my non writing/typing arm.

Photographer - Mate 3rd Class Michael Buslovich (Wikimedia Commons)

The staff member attending you comes and does a quick check by asking your name and date of birth. They place a tourniquet high up on your chosen arm and apply some local anaesthetic. The moment of truth has arrived and they insert the needle to start the donation process. I won't say it doesn't hurt at all but it is a slight pain as with any needle. Depending on the expertise of the operator I usually don't feel anything once the donation has commenced. Sometimes there is a slight feeling of discomfort.

The actual donation takes about 10 minutes. 470 ml of blood is taken and your body will replace this within 48 hours. When the donation has finished you go to the rest and refreshment area for about 10 to 20 minutes. This is to ensure you can be monitored for any side effects.

Refreshments vary between donor centres. Permanent centres may offer a greater variety of things such as hot foods and milkshakes. The mobile blood bank where I usually donate has fruit juice, cordial or water and a selection of snacks including biscuits and cheese, sultanas and chocolate. Last time there were even muffins. My mobile centre had some recent glossy mags so I caught up with the celebrity news while recuperating.

I always feel good thinking about how my blood donation helps people in need. 34% of donations go to people with cancer and other blood diseases and 18% to surgical patients.

Another bonus is that if you don't know your blood type you will find out. Each donation is also tested for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B & C, HTLV and syphilis.

Donating in a group is lots of fun and may be less nerve-racking. Some work places also allow donations to be made during working hours.

Given that Australia needs 27 000 blood donations each week,why don't you take the first step to being a life saver!
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