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Save the date! Karaglen Shopping Centre in conjunction with Karaglen SuperSpar will host its first Blood Drive for 2019 on 11 May. With national blood stocks at less than optimal levels, the South African National Blood Service needs your support on the day. Safe blood is needed to help those patients who need blood transfusions.

Is it safe?

Yes, the SANBS implements strict measures to ensure the safety of both patients and blood donors. The measure put in place means that South Africa’s blood supply is among the safest in the world. Your first step on the blood drive day will be to fill out a details health questionnaire. This will give trained nurses an insight into your health and lifestyle. This step is also in place to eliminate any donors who could potentially pose a risk to patients.

Next, you’ll head to a one-on-one interview with a nurse who will go through your questionnaire and make sure that you understood every question asked. Then you will need to undergo an iron level test as well as a blood pressure test.

Get comfortable, you’re about to donate blood

A nurse will confirm your date of birth, your name, and your address. He or she will then place a cuff on your chosen arm to maintain pressure during the donation process. The area will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe when a suitable vein is located. Next, the nurse will insert the needle and your blood will begin to collect in your donation bag.

New, sterilised needles are used for each donor. After you have donated blood the needle will be set aside for incineration. You blood donation bag will be placed on a scale which will stop the moment your donation reached 480g. The usual donation time is between 5 and 10 minutes. An additional three vials of blood will also be collected. These will be tested and matched to your unique donor number.

The process should not be uncomfortable. You should call a nurse to assist if you feel discomfort at any time. Once your donation is complete the needle will be removed and the area will be dressed with a sterile covering. You should remain in your donor chair for a few minutes after your blood donation. From start to finish you can expect the donation process to take around 30 minutes.

Important tips to remember:

Take in extra fluids for four to six hours after your donation.

Do your best to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for two hours after donating blood.

Avoid smoking for around half an hour after donating blood.

There’s more!

Karaglen SuperSpar and Karaglen Shopping Centre will host a blood drive every two months in 2019.

  • 11 May 2019
  • 20 July 2019
  • 21 September 2019
  • 16 November 2019

Check out the following SANBS infographic to see what happens to your blood.

Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. One unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation. It is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks.

Every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives. A unit of blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood every day. This ensures a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system.

Blood Donor FAQ from SANBS

Why should people donate blood at a blood drive?

The simplest reason is to help save the lives of patients in need of blood transfusions.  Just knowing that your one unit of blood can save up to three lives is a rewarding enough feeling.

So how does it work then?

If you are donating blood for the first time, your red blood cells won’t get used. Your plasma will be quarantined until your next donation. If all tests come back negative after your second donation, the quarantined plasma from your first donation will be used.

This also applies if you haven’t donated blood for a while.

After three donations all components of your blood gets used. You have to donate blood regularly!

What is regular donation?

People can donate blood every 56 days. A regular donor is someone who has made three or more donations in a year.

Who receives blood from a blood drive?

Transfusions are given to:

  • Patients undergoing surgical operations
  • Patients with cancer or leukaemia
  • Children with severe anaemia
  • Accident victims
  • Women; to treat haemorrhage as a complication of pregnancy

What is safe blood?

Blood is deemed safe once the tests for HIV, Hepatitis B & C and Syphilis shows that it is clear.

Which infections can be transmitted by blood?

  • HIV, which leads to AIDS
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Syphilis

Who should not give blood at a blood drive?

People who have or may recently have contracted a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV or syphilis. People whose lifestyle puts them at increased risk of contracting an infection that can be transmitted through their blood: for example, if they have had more than one sexual partner in the past three months, or if they have had sexual contact with someone whose sexual background is unknown to them.

Do you test blood at random?

No. Every unit of blood collected goes through the same stringent testing.

How safe is it to donate blood?

As a donor, you have to complete a Donor Questionnaire, with questions on your health and lifestyle. The questions are asked to ensure that it is safe for you to donate blood and that your blood is safe for a patient to receive.

Can you get AIDS from donating blood?

No, absolutely not. Since the introduction of NAT testing we have no reported cases of HIV transmission.

Who qualifies to become a blood donor?

If you are between the ages of 16 and 75, weigh more than 50kg and lead a sexually safe lifestyle, you can come to a clinic and register as a blood donor.

Does it really matter that it is not 56 days since I last gave blood?

By law you may only donate every 56 days. This is to ensure that you have had enough time to regenerate the red cells from your last donation.

Why can’t I give blood if I weigh less than 50kg?

The volume of blood drawn is directly proportional to the body mass. Therefore, a small person will have less blood volume than a large person. The donation of 480 ml therefore means a far larger percentage of total blood volume to a small person.