Thursday night is late opening at the Glasgow Blood Donor centre in the city centre. It’s open late (til 7pm) on Wednesdays too. Tonight I went along to give my 18th pint of blood.
I gave blood last in December and wanted to try and give three times this year. I’ve got to be careful to fit giving blood into my training so I don’t over do it. I like to give blood after a long period of training and before a rest period.
You can give blood every 12 weeks, but I like to try and give blood 3 times a year. Around about May, October and December. It should fit I’m nicely with my training.
Your haemoglobin check
Every time you go to give blood they check your haemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin, or ‘Hb’, is a protein found in the red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and gives blood its red colour.
Tonight my haemoglobin / iron levels were 12.9. It should be above 12.5 so that’s fine.
All good anyway. I gave through my left arm as normal with no complications.
All in all it took 50 minutes from when I arrived to when I left (and that was only because the lady who was taking my blood insisted on talking to me about her third holiday to New York.)
Who can give blood?
There are a few reasons why you can’t give blood: They fall into two main categories: if giving blood could potentially harm you, or if giving blood could potentially harm the person who receives your blood. For example: if you’ve had hepatitis, AIDs or HIV, if you’re pregnant, if you’re under 50kg. But plenty of people can.
What are the side effects of giving blood?
After giving blood you can feel faint and can get a bruise on the arm where blood was taken. You can feel tired as your body works to replace the blood.
Ideally you should take it easy for a few days after giving blood to let your body recover. You probably can exercise, but you should take it easy to allow your body the chance to replace the pint of blood you’ve given.
Everyone is different though, and every time you give blood you can expect that you might be affected differently.
In the past I once felt very run down and a bit flu-ey for a few days after – rumour is that your body’s immunity is down so you are more susceptible to bugs. And once my arm started spurting a little which was a little off putting. Pressure and keeping an eye on it was all that was needed.
The best way to recover after giving blood is to drink plenty of water, eat healthily and sleep well. If you can stay away from vigourous exercise for a few days.
They always provide you with a juice or tea and a buscuit after it and I always take a tunnocks teacake. But tonight there were some cheese or ham salad rolls there so I had one of them instead.
After you’ve given blood keep an eye on how you feel over the next few days. There’s usually a number you can call if you feel unwell after it. (0845 3017270 in Scotland)
Who needs us to give blood?
We all do! My blood type is very common – A+, so it is common for donors to come forward. 35% of the population have A+ blood. Whereas only 1% of the population is AB- so the more AB- donors that come forward, the better. But as a high proportion of the population have my type of blood, there’s always a need for it.
Tonight I read this on the national blood donor website:
96% of us rely on the other 4% to give blood. Please don’t leave it to someone else.
Pretty astonishing… 96% of us (can’t or) don’t give blood!!
How will my blood be used?
Here are some examples of how my blood might be used. It’s amazing to think I might save a life or help people in their treatment of some of the horrific diseases out there.
The Top 10 Users of blood
Anaemia (medical) – 23%
Orthopaedics – 14%
Haematology – 15%
Gastro intestinal bleeding – 11%
General Surgery – 10%
Cardio thoracic surgery – 6%
Obstetrics & Gynaecology – 6%
Vascular surgery – 5%
Urology – 3%
Why give blood?
It’s not much hassle out of my life and I feel good that I am able to help. This is the 18th time I’ve given blood, and it if you are able to give blood and you can bear the thought of it, I’d urge you to.
The blood service is well organised and even has a blood donation bus which goes around. I had booked in for one which comes to my work a few times a year, but I thought I’d give blood before I went away on holiday. 🙂
Perhaps you might log on to the national blood service website and find out where you can give blood?
If you are thinking about donating – Read this first.