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7 things you should know before donating blood

Blood donation is a topic that tends to become more frequent in our lives when there is a major disaster with many victims or when someone close to us needs a transfusion.

However, the need for blood banks is permanent: every day, many people need transfusions because they have had accidents, have undergone complex surgeries, are facing diseases such as leukemia and lymphomas or are undergoing chemotherapy.

So if you meet the requirements, it’s very important to make frequent donations (up to 4 donations a year for men and 3 for women) and encourage those around you to do the same. Check out 7 information you should know before heading to the nearest blood bank:

1. You will be screened for your own safety

After registering with the blood bank, you will undergo a screening to assess data such as weight, height, temperature, pulse and blood pressure and determine if you are in good general health.

In addition, a hemoglobin measurement is done to check that you do not have anemia – if you are anemic, the donation will not be carried out to protect your health. In the most modern blood banks, devices are available that allow this dosage to be carried out without the digital puncture – which can be a little painful.

2. You will answer somewhat intimate questions

At screening, you will also undergo a confidential interview about your habits regarding medication use, illegal drugs and sexual behavior. It is very important to be as honest as possible to protect yourself and also a potential recipient.

For example, people who have already used injectable drugs or who have diseases such as hepatitis B and C, AIDS and syphilis, among others, cannot definitively donate blood. Anyone who has a tattoo needs to wait 12 months to make the donation. People who have oral or genital cavity piercings can only donate one year after having them removed.

3. You may anonymously declare that your blood shall not be used

If you know that your blood should not be used for some reason or if you have doubts about its viability, it is best to be honest with the interviewer. However, in case you feel embarrassed, there is still a final, anonymous opportunity to alert the blood bank.

This is the vote of self-exclusion, which is done on a machine. On the screen, you will read a message with conditions that make the use of blood unfeasible, such as alcohol abuse, drug use, passage through the prison system and risky sexual behavior. Then, you must choose the button that indicates whether your blood can be used for transfusion or not.

As this information is only linked to your blood at a later stage, when you are already well away from the blood bank, the donation procedure takes place normally. In this way, there is no risk of you being exposed in front of your companions or the employees of the place.

4. It won’t hurt that much, but you will feel a little sting

Let’s face it: yes, you will feel a little prick when the needle to collect blood is placed in your arm, but this discomfort is temporary. After that, the donation itself is painless.

If you have trouble seeing blood, ask the technician to cover the place where the needle is inserted, so you avoid any discomfort.

5. It is important to have a snack after the donation

The snacks that are available to donors are not just a treat, but a way to help your body replace the volume that was removed. As the donation is about 450 ml of blood, it is necessary to hydrate very well to compensate for this reduction.

Drink plenty of water, teas and juices and accept salty cookies – they are important to help your body retain liquids at this first moment.

6. Your blood can help people who are not yet born

The blood you are donating today can be intended for an intrauterine transfusion for babies who are not yet born, but who already have severe fetal anemia caused by a parvovirus infection or incompatibilities with the mother’s RH factor, among other reasons.

In this case, your blood will be transferred directly into the baby’s umbilical cord, which is punctured with the help of ultrasound images.

7. Minors can donate from the age of 16

If you are 16 or 17 years old and would like to donate blood for some special reason, please know that this procedure is allowed in the presence of your parents or legal guardians. There is a list of documents and requirements that you must meet, so it is worth consulting the blood center before going there.

For example: if one of them cannot attend, it is necessary to have an authorization term signed with a notarized signature and a simple copy of their documents. Although there is some bureaucracy, this gesture will always be very welcome and can save many lives.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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