Recently I did something that I have wanted to do for a long time – I donated blood. While I was apprehensive about the whole process at first, it was one of the easiest things ever.
To be able to donate you have to sign up through www.blood.co.uk
It only takes a few minutes to fill in your details and then you are ready to book your first appointment. Again, this is an easy process which can be done on the website or through their app ‘NHS Give Blood’. All over the country there are temporary and regular pop-up blood banks where you can go and give blood, making it very accessible. Females can donate every 16 weeks and males every 12 weeks, providing you still meet all the requirements (you may have to wait longer if you get a piercing for example – there is a full list of factors on their website).
You are sent out a form to fill in and a booklet to read before you go to make the whole process quicker on the day. On the day of donation, you are advised to have a good breakfast and lunch and stay hydrated. When you arrive at the appointment you are required to read through some information and drink a glass of water. Then you’re taken for a quick consultation with a donor carer and/or nurse who will check through your forms and do a quick prick test to check if the haemoglobin (iron) levels in your blood are adequate. Then it’s finally time to donate! You are simply asked to sit in a tilted chair and do muscle tension exercises while the donation takes place. This is a fairly quick process which takes between 5-10 minutes. Afterwards you are allowed to take your time getting up and are given a drink and snack to relax with before you go.
While all blood types are needed, there is always a demand for O negative (used as a universal source when a patient’s blood group is unknown and people with O negative blood can only receive their blood type). If you are over 17 and meet the requirements, I would definitely recommend looking into it – a simple blood donation really can help save lives.