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Updated 05 December 2016

The donation process

You've thought about donating blood, but before you make your decision, you want to know exactly what is going to happen. Here's the lowdown.

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Donating blood is a safe and simple procedure that takes about 30 minutes. All needles are new, sterile, used only once and incinerated after use.

But many people are still uncertain as to exactly what happens when you donate blood.

This is how the actual donation process works:

  • You will complete a donor questionnaire that includes your personal details;
  • You will answer questions regarding your health and social behaviour;
  • You will undergo a one-on-one interview with a staff member following the questions you answered on the donor questionnaire;
  • Your iron (haemoglobin) level will be checked and your blood pressure and pulse rate will be taken;
  • During the donation process you will donate one unit of blood (480ml), which your body will quickly replace; and
  • You will receive refreshments to aid in replacing lost fluid.

After donating, eat well and increase your fluid intake for the next four to six hours. Do not smoke for at least 30 minutes. Also avoid strenuous physical exertion and lifting heavy objects with the arm used for making the donation for at least two hours afterwards.

(Information from the South African National Blood Service)

 
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