Blood donation is a vital part of providing healthcare to those who need it most. According to the Australian Red Cross, one in three Australians will need blood sometime throughout their life, however, only three percent of Australians take the time to give blood.
How does blood donation work?
Blood donation is easy to participate in. The whole experience takes about an hour and the actual taking of blood happens in about eight to ten minutes, however, donating red cells, plasma, or platelets can take up to two hours.
The Red Cross says during the blood donation process, a sterile needle is quickly inserted into your arm. It only hurts for a second and feels more like a pinch. Then all you have to do is sit and relax while your blood is collected. Once your blood is collected, you’re required to stay 10 to 15 minutes afterwards and enjoy some snacks to help raise you blood sugar levels.
How often can you donate blood?
You can donate blood every 12 weeks, but you can donate plasma and platelets every two to three weeks if you want.
Who can donate blood?
Any new donors between the ages of 18 and 70 can give blood. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria, you can donate right up until you’re 81.
In order to give blood, you must be feeling fit and healthy and weigh over 50 kgs. People who are feeling ill, faint or unwell are advised not to give blood.
According to the experts at House Call Doctor, there are a few medications which can prevent you from participating in blood donation. For instance, many prescribed medications for acne, benign prostatic hypertrophy, arthritis, peptic ulcers, sarcoidosis, and osteoporosis don’t allow you to give blood.
When can’t you donate blood?
To donate blood in Australia, you first need to make sure you are eligible. These requirements include:
- You must be 18 years old or over
- You must be under 70 years old
- You must nothave had a tattoo in the last four months
- You must not be pregnant or have just given birth
- You must not have a serious heart condition
- You must not be low in iron
- You must not have lived in the United Kingdom for 6 months or more between the 1st of January 1980 and 31st of December1996
- You must not have engaged in ‘at risk’ sexual activity in the past 12 months
- You must not have ever injected recreational drugs
- You must not have travelled overseas in the past 4 months.
You might be unable to donate if you’re under the influence, have recently undergone surgery, have a heart condition, or even received any dental treatments.
If you’re unsure, check the Red Cross website to see if you’re eligible for blood donation.