On Monday I went to donate blood.
I was all excited as my work gives us 2 hours paid leave to donate every 3 months (it’s not much but some places don’t get anything). I filled out my form, made sure I had alot of water and alot to eat beforehand and walked along to my appointment.
Once there I filled out another form, measured my height and weight and sat down and waited for my interview.
It’s pretty full on. Lots of questions to answer and it’s so important to answer them honestly because you could potentially cause someone with a low immune system to be sick.
Had my blood pressure taken (quite low 109/60) and a quick finger prick to check my hemoglobin level (very good figure).
After about 20 minutes of quite personal questions, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to donate.
This is due to the fact that I was born in Chile and spent more than 6 months of my life there and therefore I’m unable to donate. On the Red Cross website it states that Chagas, which is an insect borne infection is present in Chile, which is similar to Malaria. It can also be inhaled and stay in your blood system which is why as someone who was born there, and parents were born there, I wasn’t able to donate.
It’s a bit disappointing because only 1 in 30 people donate blood yet 1 in 3 will need a blood transfusion throughout their lifetime. Whilst it’s frustrating I can understand why they need to be so careful about it. I was told that Australia has one of the most stringent laws when it comes to donating which is good as it means that if you were to ever need blood, you could pretty much bank on it being good.
There are 3 types of blood donation, the most common obviously being whole blood which involves collecting red blood cells, plasma and platelets, there’s plasma donation and platelet donation. I was told that I may be able to donate Plasma. Whilst you can only donate every 12 weeks if you are donating whole blood, you can actually donate every 2 weeks when donating plasma as they return your red cells.
It’s actually really interesting and I think it’s such a fabulous way to help others around you. I look forward to making an appointment to see if I’m eligible to donate plasma.
Have you ever donated blood? What was it like?