Giving blood is one simple way to help your community. Whether you are helping a family member in need, or responding to a community disaster, giving blood saves lives. However if you are giving blood for the first time, or may hate needles, you may be hesitant to help. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering giving blood that will make the process painless and help you get over those first time jitters.
You should first find out if you are eligible to give blood. Most healthy people can give blood. You must be at least 17 years old (depending on the state you live), weigh at least 110 pounds and lead a healthy lifestyle. You’ll be asked a few questions before you give blood to ensure you qualify.
You should sleep well the night before you give blood. Without a good night’s rest giving blood can make you feel dangerously tired. Whether or not you sleep you should take it easy after giving blood. Even a well rested person should avoid strenuous activities. In other words giving blood is a great excuse to take a break from the gym!
Try to eat foods rich in iron before giving blood. Liver is a great choice, as are many veggies (like kale or spinach) and beans. If giving blood early, don’t skip breakfast. It goes without saying: Stick to water. You want to be properly hydrated to help your body recover. Drink water after giving blood as well, to replenish your system. You should also eat a hearty meal after giving blood. No alcohol the night before or after giving blood. Not even a quick drink after work.
Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that will allow access to your arm. If you prefer you can tell the person taking the blood which arm you prefer. Sleeves should be easy to roll up above the elbow. After giving blood keep the bandage on your arm for at least eight hours and clean with soapy water to avoid infection.
If you take it easy you shouldn’t have any problems giving blood. However if you feel dizzy or like you are going to pass out, sit down and relax until you feel better. Avoid major activity for at least a full day after giving blood. If you start to bleed from the needle spot apply pressure to it and raise your arm in the air straight for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.
You may find the process so painless that you’ll want to donate again immediately. Keep in mind you can only donate once every two months. That’s because it takes about eight weeks for red blood cells to fully replenish themselves in your system.
January is Blood Donation Month. It’s a time the Red Cross and others honor the nearly 11 million blood donors in the United States. However blood shortages are still a problem. Visit the Red Cross for more information, and follow Travel Care on Twitter for more health tips and to learn more about our affordable air ambulance services.