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Blood donation is a simple, safe and a painless procedure that a person may choose to go for. It may be a simple act for the person who volunteers for the donation, but can make an appreciable difference in someone else's life. As the name suggests, blood donation refers to the willingness of a person to let his blood drawn typically for the purpose of blood transfusion, or for the production of medication. Most people donate blood on account of charity, while some are paid for the contribution. On an average, a person may have to spend a mere 8 - 10 minutes while the blood is being drawn from his/her body. And if we speak of the time spent from the person's arrival at the blood donation center till his departure, it is about an hour.

Main Steps Involved in the Process of Blood Donation

Step #1
The process begins with a registration process. Here, the person who intends to donate his/her blood would be handed over the basic details regarding the eligibility standards for donating blood. Basically, being 110 pounds, at least 16 years old and being generally healthy are the main requirements. Also, he/she would be briefed upon the complete process comprising the blood donation. Here, the person concerned may also need to produce a proof of identity, which could be driver's license, or the like.

Step #2
Step 2 is important because it involves a medical examination of the donor. First, the person would be put through a questionnaire related to his/her health, lifestyle, and disease risk factors. The questions would be out forward by a trained medical staff, and whatever is documented during the questionnaire remains classified. Thereafter, the donor would have to undergo a brief health exam in order to determine his/her blood pressure levels, hemoglobin levels (iron level), temperature, and pulse. All these factors are important in order to declare the person as an eligible candidate for blood donation. Instruments that are used in these tests are completely sterile, and meant for one-time use only.

Step #3
In this step, the donor is attended to by a medical practitioner to donate his/her blood.

The blood is usually drawn from inside of the elbow, where the median cubital vein is present. So this area is cleansed by a staff with an antiseptic such as iodine. This is to prevent the punctured skin and the blood drawn from getting infected. Some people may be allergic to iodine, and so this must be informed to the medical staff beforehand.

Once done with the cleansing part, the medical professional will insert a brand new sterile needle for the blood draw. Initially, when the skin is being pierced, the person may feel a sensation of a quick pinch or sting. But the feeling goes away in seconds.

A tourniquet is a bandage that is used to stop the blood from the artery by applying pressure. So this may be used to ease and speed up the process of drawing the blood. Some people may be given something to squeeze repeatedly so that the blood rushes rapidly to the vein from which the blood is being collected.

Typically, the donation lasts for 8 - 10 minutes, as by then, approximately, a pint of blood gets collected. Thereafter, a bandage is wrapped around the injected site of the arm.

Before the Donation

It is recommended that the person who intends to donate blood...
  • Keep himself/herself properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water the day of the donation.
  • Elevate his/her hemoglobin levels by increasing iron-rich foods in the diet. This must be done a week before the donation.
  • May be required to produce a record of any prescription and/or over the counter medications that he/may have been or is taking.
Post the Donation

After the donation is over, the donor is provided with something to eat and drink at the refreshment bay. And after spending about 10 - 15 minutes, he/she may choose to leave. It is recommended that the donor continue to drink plenty of water for the rest of the day, and avoid any stressful activities.

Blood donation is one of the noble contributions that can be done to the society in the interest of those who may require the need of it during critical times. And all it takes is a mere 1 hour for anyone to accomplish this noble act of blood donation process. So if you think you are an eligible blood donor, then do not mind taking out some time this weekend, and enjoy the feeling of having saved lives.