Donating blood can save a life, and that’s no lie

Thirty minutes of your time can save three lives.

Today (June 14) is World Blood Donor Day and the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) is calling on healthy eligible blood donors to roll up their sleeves to help save lives.

The organisation is appealing to the community to assist by regularly donating safe whole blood and related blood products to ensure that its blood reserves remain well stocked.

“The need for blood is constant and blood products including plasma and platelets are used in the treatment of cancer patients, those undergoing surgical procedures, trauma victims, women during childbirth, chronic illness sufferers and more,” said Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

In an effort to generate mass support for blood donation, the healthcare provider has compiled a list dispelling common myths regarding the blood donation process.

• The process is painful
Donating blood is not painful. You might feel a quick pinch when the needle is inserted and discomfort which lasts only a few seconds.
First-time donors may feel slight discomfort in the crook of the elbow once the needle has been removed but it is mild and temporary.
• It is time consuming
The entire blood donation process, from registration to the post-donation recovery takes about 30 minutes.
A single session can potentially save up to three lives, this is a small investment of time with a huge impact.
• You risk contracting HIV
Donating blood is safe and healthy.
All implements used throughout the process are single-use and sterile. The trained SANBS staff collect all blood donations following strict protocols.
• Vegetarians and vegans cannot donate
Your dietary preferences do not exclude you from becoming a regular blood donor.
The key is maintaining a well-balanced diet which includes iron-rich foods.
• Only heterosexuals are welcome
Anyone can donate blood, irrespective of their sexual orientation on condition that they lead a low-risk lifestyle thus ensuring safe donations.
• Tattoos and piercings? No problem
People with tattoos or piercings can donate blood, provided they have been done professionally and healed fully.
A waiting period of three months will be required to ensure no infections have been contracted.
• Medication is a no-go
Certain medications may deter blood donation it is therefore imperative to discuss the use of prescribed medications with a SANBS representative thus giving full disclosure of consumed medicines.
• Blood donation hampers physical and cognitive performance
After donating blood, you can return to normal activities within a few hours, it is however recommended to avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
Sufficient hydration and consuming a hearty meal after donation is vital.
• Donors must be young and healthy
Donors do need to be in good health. However, people with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can donate if the disease is well-managed and under control.
• Persons with ‘common’ blood types need not donate

There are four blood groups A, B, AB, or O.
Additionally, you can be classified as rhesus positive or negative, creating a total of eight main blood groups.
Common blood types are in higher demand because they are more prevalent.

Type O blood, especially O negative, is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients of any blood type in cases of emergencies.
The blood donor centre at the East Rand Mall is open from 10:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday, and Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00.

You are an eligible donor if you lead a healthy lifestyle, are 16 years or older and weigh over 50kg.
For more information, call the SANBS on 0800 847 633.

Also Read: Save lives by donating blood


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