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To ask what to expect when I give blood for the first time today?

(43 Posts)
WottaMess Tue 24-Jun-14 06:44:33

Tried a couple of years ago and there was a misunderstanding on my part about food - thought you weren't supposed to eat for 3 hours beforehand so couldn't donate. Then got pg and couldn't for a while. However, today I finally do so...

When and what should I be eating or drinking? Do I have to take my own water for afterwards? Anything else I should bear in mind? (Am a little nervous as get a bit squeamish around blood!)

HouseofEliot Tue 24-Jun-14 06:47:27

They won't take mine now as I have crohn's. When I went I just drank and ate normally. They do a small test on your ear with a bit of blood. After you will get tea, coffee, squash and biscuits. Well done for going.

welshnat Tue 24-Jun-14 06:55:12

I went about a month ago so will tell you my experience. When I got there thy have me a pint of water to drink. You have to fill out a form and then go to a nurse. She might just tick the form or she might have some questions about any answers. Then she will prick your finger and drop some of your blood into a liquid. If the blood drops I the bottom in under 15 seconds you're fine to give blood, if no you're too anaemic.

Once this is done you will be taken to a bed to lay down. They will clean your arm as leave it a minute before swabbing it to check that it's clean. This is repeated until clean enough.

Then finally the donation. They may give you something to squeeze in your had while doing it or jut ask you to open and close your fist.

Once it's done they will ask you to lay there a few minutes, then sit up for a few minutes and check that you're not light headed. After this you get a drink and a choc biscuit grin if no dizziness then a hot tea or sweet squash. Bu if you feel dizzy you an only have the squash.

I'm happy to answer any other questions. Good luck and well done! grin

welshnat Tue 24-Jun-14 06:56:01

I forgot to add there may be a LOT of waiting between each step!

FluffyPiggle Tue 24-Jun-14 06:56:20

You get biscuits and tea afterwards. They'll take you in and go through your medical questionnaire. And you lay on a bed and get connected up. Whole process can vary in time.

Well done though smile it's an amazing feeling helping to save lives x

Andrewofgg Tue 24-Jun-14 06:59:10

Nothing to it. Piece of piss. Everyone with no medical contra-indication should do it.

WottaMess Tue 24-Jun-14 07:08:35

Thanks Welsh - that's really helpful.

When pg I got typed for the first time and I'm o negative (universal donor) so really felt I should as soon as I could.

Just hope I don't faint! shock

TestingTestingWonTooFree Tue 24-Jun-14 07:11:08

I'm quite squeamish and managed just fine by looking away. It wasn't really any worse than a blood test, it just took longer. Good for you!

I make sure I've had a decent lunch with some carbs beforehand (I always book at 1-2pm). I have felt light headed afterwards once or twice in the past. Drink plenty too - I go to the loo before I check-in. There can be lots of waiting but I am usually in and out in about an hour, last time it was about 1/2 an hour. If you feel at all concerned about anything just say, they are prepared for nervous people. Well done for arranging to go.

FiloFunky Tue 24-Jun-14 07:13:07

I'm sorry I have to ask..... A test on your ear??

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:17:23

Exactly as welshnat says except that I wasn't allowed tea afterwards the first time, it had to be a cold drink.

PetulaGordino Tue 24-Jun-14 07:18:23

I have never had a test on my ear, always my finger - they do a pinprick and then squeeze out a little bit of blood for the tests

Drink plenty of water - they will get ou to have a pint before donating. It can help to do little movements with your legs while you're donating. It's good that it's a warm day as likelihood is it will be quicker. There are always tons of people about checking you are ok and to help if you feel funny at all

HouseofEliot Tue 24-Jun-14 07:19:30

I went about 6 times before I had my crohn's it was always a blood test on your ear looking above it seems to be done on your finger now.

I've bee donating for 25 years, it's always been a finger for the pin prick at the sessions I've been at. That can be the worst part.

MontserratCaballe Tue 24-Jun-14 07:23:04

Well done OP. It will be fine. You need to eat a bit beforehand and be prepared for an hour or so there, drinking water, waiting, drinking more water etc. The actual donation bit takes about 10m and you just squueze your hand and move your legs to speed things up. I am a good bleeder apparently and get mine out very quickly.

THey have crisps at my centre for afterwards. Hurray!

Reminds me to book another appointment. You really are saving someone's life. They use gallons of blood and blood products in cancer treatment as well as A and E, childbirth etc so people like you are doing something amazing smile

flowers for you. You will be fine

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:24:01

Test is on the finger- I look away as I find it the worst part.

mindthegap79 Tue 24-Jun-14 07:25:27

I'm squeamish and find that wiggling my fingers at the start is a very good distraction. I also do this when I get injections.

Everyone should give blood if they can - my dad always made the good point that no one is ever too busy or too squeamish to receive blood.

Well done you for going, especially as you have a rare blood type.

MehsMum Tue 24-Jun-14 07:27:19

I can second the info above. The more you wriggle when the blood is being taken, the faster its goes - I tense and relax my legs and clench and unclench my fist.

Always lots of unhealthy junk to eat afterwards - crisps, chic bix etc.

Good on you for going, and I hope you become a regular. smile

Bumply Tue 24-Jun-14 07:27:59

Even if the blood test shows you are too low in iron to donate (and that can just be that you're not at a high enough level to be ok if you did donate, rather than you are properly anaemic) you still get your tea (or juice) and biscuits afterwards.

AtYourCervix Tue 24-Jun-14 08:25:02

I'm donating this afternoon too. Think this'll be my 30th (lots of gaps due to various things). I took DD1 last time but she can't do this time.

they do excellent snacks now. Tuc biscuitsand mint clubs.

We get Penguin biscuits smile.

Ours encourage you to do exercises with your legs, I haven't noticed it speeding things up particularly (mine has always been fast anyway) but they say it helps prevent lightheadedness, I think it is better that they have reclining seats now instead of lie-flat beds too.

mindthegap79 Tue 24-Jun-14 09:02:31

All this talk of Penguins and Clubs is giving me the rage - we only get rich tea where I go! wink

cantbelievemyeyes Tue 24-Jun-14 09:04:16

Mine has the snack sized Eat Natural bars, bloody lovely!

I always make sure I've eaten a couple of hours before (so I have a snack if my appointment is close to a mealtime) as I once donated in the afternoon having skipped lunch- very bad idea, I wasn't well at all after. Since then they always make me stay a bit longer and have an extra biscuit before I leave, which is no hardship smile

gordyslovesheep Tue 24-Jun-14 09:06:24

I can't donate at the moment due to being anemic

first time I donated I'd been for a run and not eaten so I had to wait an hour and eat crisps and drink juice grin

also wiggle my legs and squeeze my hand to get it out - I have very low BP and it beeps all the time if I don't. Still only takes about 10/15 mins

Good luck and enjoy the bickies

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 24-Jun-14 09:17:47

Weird question, what do you do with your children (if you have any!) when you donate? I'm preg with dc2 ATM, but want to donate after he's born.. But il have a baby and 18mo dd.... They won't sit still and be good for any length of time..... Do I have to try and find a sitter? :/

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