Thanks for spending a few minutes of your time reading this sharing article. In this article, we are sharing useful information about blood donation and our recent experience as donor.
WHY we should donate blood
Blood is needed to save lives in times of emergencies, for instances patients who are undergoing surgeries as well as those with medical conditions such as bleeding disorders. For many patients, blood donors are their lifeline.
One unit of blood can save three lives!
In Singapore, about 120,000 units of blood are needed to meet the transfusion needs of patients every year, and that is equivalent to more than 400 units of blood a day. With an ageing population, more advanced life-saving medical procedures, more blood will be needed every year. We or our loved ones may also need blood for emergencies, we can never predict when it happens!
Can I donate blood?
We need understand the basic requirements we need to fulfill in order to become a blood donor. Here are the important points:
- aged between 16 and 60 (Youths aged 16 and 17 will need to complete and bring a signed parental consent form)
- weigh at least 45kg
- in good health
- do not have any symptoms of infection (e.g. sore throat, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea) for at least one week
- did not have fever in the last three week
- shave a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5g/dL for females, and at least 13.0g/dL for males.
(A test will be administered by trained nurses at the donation site prior the blood donation.)
Note: You can also take the 1 minute quiz to find out if you can donate blood! Here is the link: https://redcross.sg/eligibility-quiz
What is haemoglobin level?
The below picture was taken at the donation site. To save your time and hassle, and also avoid disappointment, it is essential to learn what food can boost your iron level with a well-balanced iron-rich diet before the donation.
Where to donate blood and how to make an appointment?
At the point of writing this article, there are 4 blood banks in Singapore you can donate your blood. Click here to find out the addresses and opening hours.
You can either make an appointment online (if you are a Singpass holder) or you can walk-in to any of these 4 blood banks during their operating hours to register. We highly recommend you to make an appointment online and fill up the questionnaire in advance. It is hassle free and by doing so you will save at least 15 minutes at the donation site.
Note: Foreigners are eligible to donate blood as long as you meet the requirements and you hold a valid long term pass in Singapore.
The donation process
We visited the Blood Bank @ Dhoby Ghaut. Like all other blood banks, the location is convenient and accessible via public transport. All staffs at the blood bank were friendly and very professional in each task they perform.
The entire process takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, and here is what you can expect:
1. Form Filling (5-10 mins)
This is the detailed health assessment questionnaire that we recommend you to complete in advance if you book your appointment online.
2. Registration (5 mins)
You need to bring along your valid photo ID, your personal particulars will be recorded and you will be placed in the donation queue.
3. Haemoglobin Check (5 mins)
Your haemoglobin level will be measured by a fingerprick test to ensure that you can give blood.
4. Medical Screening (10-15 mins)
A medical screener will go through your responses to the health assessment questionnaire with you and measure your weight, pulse, blood pressure and temperature to confirm you are fit for donation.
5. Blood Donation (10-15 mins)
A trained nurse will attend to you to make sure you are comfortable, before cleaning your arm and applying a local painkiller to ensure you feel minimal pain during the donation process (they are extremely thoughtful about it). The actual withdrawal of blood takes about 5 to 10 minutes and 350-450 ml of blood is collected, people who drink more water in general may complete the withdrawal in shorter time.
6. Rest and Refreshment (15 mins)
Light refreshments such as juices and dried fruits will be provided while you rest for 10-15 minutes. This is to ensure that you feel well before leaving the blood collection site.
As first time donor, we felt comfortable throughout the entire process. The staffs were very professional, they explained all steps clearly and performed their duties accurately and fast. The donation room is comfortable and clean, all seats are sanitized after each use. The machines are intelligent enough to improve the overall experience. For example: I didn't notice my hand position moved a little, the machine beeped to remind me.
Warning: There is a short video coming up, you may skip that if you are afraid to see blood.
After the donation
Maintain an iron-rich diet following your donation to replenish the iron stocks in your body (Scroll back up to read the food can boost your iron). You should also continue to hydrate yourself throughout the rest of the day. You may resume your normal activities however any strenuous or athletic activity should be postponed until the next day.
We hope you enjoy our sharing and take action to become a donor if you are fit to. One unit of blood can save three lives!
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