There is a constant need to donate blood, whether due to illness, accident or other reason. Not only because blood is the most valuable gift that can be offered to someone. But also because doing so contributes to saving lives and improving health. If you are interested in doing it, we leave you the Requirements for Donating Blood.
If you decide to make the decision to donate blood, you will not regret it.
Saving a life will leave you with an inner satisfaction that is inexplicable.
In case you didn’t know, blood is separated by components. That is, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. These can be used individually and in different ways for patients with specific diseases.
If you wonder what each of these are and what they are for, we explain them to you:
Red blood cells. They are also called Erythrocytes and are the most numerous cells in the blood.
They take care of carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the tissues. The protein inside that binds oxygen is called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is red and gives blood this color.
Platelets. They are also called thrombocytes. They participate in the protection of the wall of the blood vessels, forming a «plug» to prevent bleeding at the site of injury.
Likewise, they produce various substances that help wound healing.
Plasma. It is the liquid part of the blood and is very rich in protein.
Now that you know these terms, you should know that not all blood types are compatible.
Requirements to donate blood in Colombia
Everyone can do it.
However, there are some conditions that must be met to perform the process.
What are the conditions to donate blood in Colombia?
The conditions that must be met for a person to donate blood are:
- REQUIRED: Be over 18 and under 65.
- Weigh minimum 50 kilos.
- When donating blood, you cannot have a fast longer than four hours.
- Not having received growth hormone.
- You should feel completely healthy.
- You cannot have had alcoholic beverages in the last two days.
- Drug addicts are prohibited from donating blood.
- People who have been in contact with diseases such as measles, rubella, mumps or other contagious diseases in the last 3 weeks will not be able to donate.
- Have not been treated or suffered from malaria in the last three years.
- During the last year you cannot have pierced or tattoos.
- Wait a month to donate blood when you have had minor surgeries and a year after major surgeries or transplants.
- Not having had sexual contact with people at risk of sexually transmitted diseases in the last year.
- After the age of 10, you cannot have had hepatitis.
- Not be taking medications such as anticoagulants, antidepressants, tranquilizers, antibiotics, insulin, or growth hormones.
- If you have already been a donor, you must wait at least four months to donate again.
Now, despite being many requirements to be able to donate blood, we recommend that in the same way, if you have any of these conditions that prevent you from donating, go to a health center and find out if with that condition you can do it or not.
Technology has evolved a lot and today there are ways to donate regardless of one of these conditions.
What to do before donating blood in Colombia?
Once you have seen the requirements, if you confirm that you can donate, you should follow some tips of what to do moments before.
Maybe you feel nervous and that affects your body, so we recommend:
- Get ready to donate.
Determine if you meet the above requirements.
- Make the appointment or go to the medical center in the morning.
NOTE: You can also look for a blood donation campaign.
- Eat foods rich in iron.
If they tend to have low iron levels, you can prepare foods rich in red meat, liver, fish and eggs. Also legumes and nuts are rich in this nutrient.
Having good levels of vitamin C will also help you increase your absorption of iron. Try consuming citrus fruits, citrus juices, or vitamin supplements.
- Hydrate yourself
To prepare your body for blood loss, you will need to drink plenty of water or fruit juice the night and the morning before donating.
The main cause of fainting and dizziness when donating blood is a drop in blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before donating.
Before donating blood, you should get a good night’s sleep.
This will make you feel better and will help reduce the risk of suffering an adverse reaction at the time of the process.
- Never go fasting. Eat 4 hours before going to the donation.
Never give blood without having anything to eat that day. Food will keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Avoid smoking for at least an hour before donating.
- Wait your turn.
- Just relax.
What to do while donating?
When you pass the medical examination, they will proceed to draw your blood. If you are afraid of this step, you must prepare yourself mentally.
Many blood donors are afraid of needles or do not like to be pricked.
Just relax. Nervousness can lower your blood pressure and can make you dizzy.
Find ways to distract yourself, for example, sing a song, look at your phone, focus on other things.
You can distract yourself or prepare before it happens to make the moment more comfortable for you.
REMEMBER: Take a deep breath before the needle is inserted. Do not hold your breath. Otherwise you could pass out.
Quiet. Keep calm. Most donors report little or no pain. The real problem is discomfort, so the less tense you are, the better.
How is the proccess?
- Reading information about the donation.
- Completion of the medical interview form and authorization for donation.
- Medical examination and interview.
- Test for the detection of anemia.
- Donation proper.
- Recovery and refreshment.
They will put a kind of bracelet on your arm so that your veins are more visible and pump blood faster.
She will clean the inside of where she will insert the needle. The needle will then be inserted into your arm, which will be attached to a long tube. He will ask you to pump your hands a few times and your blood will start to come out.
He will first take a few vials of blood to test it, then your blood will fill the bag. They usually draw 450 ml of blood per session.
This process normally takes between 10 and 15 minutes.
What to do after donating?
Once you’ve donated, rest and replenish.
When you’re done donating blood, your doctor or nurse will ask you to sit down and wait for about 15 minutes to ensure you don’t pass out or get dizzy.
If you have a candy or juice, have it. In this way, you will replenish fluids and increase your blood sugar.
Likewise, the doctor will suggest that you avoid certain things for the rest of the day and replenish your fluids for the next 48 hours.
- You shouldn’t lift heavy things or do strenuous activities like strenuous exercise for the rest of the day.
- If you feel dizzy afterward, lie down with your feet elevated.
- If you feel bad for long periods of time after your donation, see your doctor to make sure everything is okay.
What documents do I need to have to donate blood in Colombia?
Don’t worry, donating blood doesn’t require many documents.
Actually, your ID is enough.
The donor card is not necessary. The first time you donate blood you have to identify yourself with your valid ID, passport or driver’s license.
If you are already registered in the Blood Bank, you just need a donor card or a document with your name and surname.
Ready! You can proceed to donate blood.
Benefits of Donating Blood
Most people donate blood because they want to help others. In fact, donating blood once helps save the lives of up to three people.
Others, rather, do not donate blood because it is not a decision that makes them important or simply because they do not like needles.
However, in addition to the satisfaction you can feel when donating blood, it also has other benefits that you probably did not know about.
- Donating blood improves the health of the donor, it can help rejuvenate the body.
- Extracting one unit, that is 450 milliliters, makes the body regenerate with new and fresh blood.
- Balance iron levels. A healthy person has around 5 grams of iron in the body, and when donating blood, a little is lost. This loss is replenished days later with food, regulating itself naturally.
- Blood flows better. At the time of donation, the blood flows in a less damaging way to the blood vessels. What does it mean? less arterial blockage and lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Medical check. All donors undergo small screenings prior to donation to check their blood pressure, pulse, hemoglobin levels, and temperature, along with tests for 13 infectious diseases.
- You lengthen your life. People who donate altruistically have a lower risk of dying than those who are «obligated»
Why is it said to donate blood balances iron levels in the blood?
For every unit of blood that is donated, a person loses about a quarter of a gram of iron.
It is normal that at first you think that it is something bad. We know that a shortage of iron can cause fatigue, lowered immunity, or anemia.
But what you don’t know is that an excess of iron can be worse, and that it is actually much more common than iron deficiency.
This means for many that donating blood helps remove excess iron from the body. This happens to be one of the biggest benefits to be gained from the process.
It has long been known that menstruating women have fewer heart attacks. This was originally thought to be due to hormones but is now believed to be due to lower iron levels.
Likewise, if you ask yourself Why does it improve blood flow? this is why:
A diet high in sugar, tobacco, toxic substances, stress, anxiety, high cholesterol, and high uric acid levels cause your blood to hyper-clot.
That is, your blood becomes thick and slow-circulating, which increases the risk of having a blood clot or stroke.
Hyper-clotted blood contributes to inflammation, since when it does not circulate properly, oxygen cannot reach the tissues.
Therefore, repeatedly donating blood can help blood circulate better. It may help limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels, which could be the result of less artery blockages.
Does donating blood have any risk?
None. Donating blood is a simple act and if you qualify, anyone should do it. There is always a doctor in every donation to determine if it can be donated without consequences for the donor.
What you should be careful with is what you do before donating. Take your forecasts so that you do not suffer from dizziness.
Do you have to be fasting to donate?
On the contrary, to donate you must have had breakfast. But if it is going to be done after meals, you have to wait to digest. You cannot donate on an empty stomach. You must donate at least 4 hours after eating.
Taking medication can I donate?
It depends on the medicine and what it is being taken for.
One of the requirements to donate is to be totally healthy. In any case, the donor doctor should be consulted if a drug or treatment may contraindicate with the donation.
How much blood do they draw from you?
The blood that is donated is a very low quantity compared to the total volume that circulates through our body.
In addition, as blood is something that is constantly being produced and renewed, the amount extracted, which is about 450 ml, is recovered within a few days.
What if something happens to me?
Donating is a process that has been done for a long time, it is thinking so that it does not harm the donor.
For this reason, before donating, a short evaluation of the donor is carried out precisely to rule out anything that may cause an impact on the person. Neither by the amount of blood that is extracted nor by the material that is used, the donation represents any risk for the donor.
Are the needles disposable or can I catch something?
You should not fear, as we said, this process is done with great care. It’s like getting a profile 20.
All the material used in the donation is sterile and for single use.
Any kind of contagion from donating blood is impossible. On the contrary, the nursing staff disinfects the skin beforehand so that the donor himself does not infect the blood to be donated to the patient.
Does donating blood make you fat?
The answer is simple. NO. Donating blood does not make you fat. Rather, it makes the blood flow more.
Does everyone have blood, why donate?
Colombia is in the middle range of donation. It has an average of 17 donors for every 1000 people.
It is estimated that the goal should be at least 25 per 1000 inhabitants, in addition each component of the blood has a limited life time.
That is, platelets 5 days, red blood cells 42 days, and plasma 1 year. For this reason, frequent volunteer donors are required to do so at least twice a year.
How many times can a person donate?
Donated blood cannot be kept for long.
Some components do not last more than a few days, as we explained in the previous point.
It is the reason why it should be donated periodically, so that there is always blood available to hospitals.
Although recovery is quick, the donor is not allowed to donate again for at least two months.
In addition, donations are limited to three per year for women and four for men.
What do you do with the blood?
All donated blood units are analyzed, processed to separate their components, preserved and distributed to any hospital, whether public or private, that requires them.
I only plan to donate if it is to a relative
Taking into account that all blood must be studied before sending it to a medical center, the safest thing is to donate periodically, without waiting for the emergency room so that there is always blood available to any patient, at any time.
The blood must be waiting for the patient, and not the other way around, since its need is, in most cases, urgent.
However, there are many cases in which the stored blood is not enough or is not compatible, and that is where donors are requested.
With so much evolution, is there something to replace blood?
No. Artificial blood cannot be made and there are no substitutes for it.
According to statements by people known on the subject, research has been carried out to find substances that replace blood or some of its derivatives, but so far they have not been achieved.
What are medicines made from blood?
Blood has various components. As we said.
For this reason, donated blood is divided to take better advantage of each donation and give each patient only that component that is missing.
In other words, one donation is used for several patients. Red blood cells, platelets and part of the fresh plasma are directly transfused daily in hospitals, while the rest of the plasma is sent to pharmaceutical laboratories for processing into drugs.
Where can I donate blood in Colombia?
Blood donation campaigns are constantly being carried out.
Likewise, at the red cross or hospitals you can go ask.
Check the following link so you can find information on where to donate.
Who cannot donate blood?
In previous points we mentioned the requirements to donate. However, we explain in detail who can NOT do it:
- Insulin diabetic patients cannot donate dependents.
- Drug addicts by skin or veins.
- Carriers of infections such as AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, Chagas disease.
- People with chronic diseases of the kidney, lung, heart.
- Those who are undergoing epilepsy treatment.
- People who have sexually transmitted diseases.
Do not worry.
The entire process of donating blood does not take long. At least half an hour: first the questionnaire, the medical check-up, the donation that will last about ten minutes and finally rest and take a snack to replace fluids.
After donating you must bear in mind that you must:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- No smoking for an hour
- No alcoholic beverages during the day
- Intense physical exercise is prohibited
- Avoid work activities that involve risk to yourself or others
- In case of dizziness after donation, lie down and put your legs up.
- Maintain compression on the arm for at least 1 hour.
- Carry a large bottle of orange juice. It will help you boost your energy after donating blood.
- Lie down when you donate. This helps with the drop in blood pressure and dizziness, especially if this is your first time doing it.
- When you are familiar with the process, ask about platelet donations. It takes longer to donate platelets, but you will be able to keep your red blood cells. Platelets are a vital product used to treat seriously ill patients.
- If you feel dizzy, tell the medical staff.
If you are one of the people who do not think to donate, remember that doing so is essential for the healing of many people. Not only do you benefit from feeling satisfaction: three people benefit from a donation. Remember that your donation is necessary throughout the year. They can be donated every 2 months, with a maximum of 4 donations per year for men and 3 for women.
Motivate yourself to do it, it is a wonderful experience. Check if you meet the Requirements for Donating Blood, find the nearest center, ask for the corresponding information and donate! You will be able to help many people.
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