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Tips for Giving Blood

Inspired by our Heart a Nurse customers, I’ve been collecting ideas on how to give back to my nursing community. Ideally I would love to join an overseas project with MSF one day but since we are so busy with filling our necklace orders and launching our holiday promotions, I’ve decided to start with some less time consuming endeavors.

Everyday, on my walk to work I pass by the Canadian Blood Services location on College Street in Toronto and notice their drop-in hours and think about stopping by after work to donate blood. Well today I finally did it and dragged two of my awesome colleagues (also nurses) with me. To my horror I discovered that it’s actually been a decade since I last donated blood and I’ll admit, I didn’t miss the feeling of a 16- guage needle in my anticubital fossa. Discomfort aside, the feeling of knowing that my blood could save the life of one of my patients was extremely fulfilling. The amazing nurses and support staff that work in that clinic were very personable and went out of their way to appreciate each donor’s contribution. I recommend that if you haven’t ever donated or (like me) haven’t donated in a while - get out there and give! Your gift will surely be appreciated by a person in need.

Tips for Donating Blood:

  1. Hydration - drinking fluids on the day prior to donating is actually more crucial than hydrating on the day of donation to increase your blood volume. Being hydrated will result in a shorter donation time and help with recovering from any symptoms that are caused by donating blood . On that note, be aware that most sessions (starting when the needle goes in until it comes out) take somewhere from 7-14 minutes. It is also important that you have eaten and have had a good night’s sleep prior to your donation.

  2. Plan Ahead - make sure that you don’t have any strenuous activities planned after donating blood. Each donor gives just under 500cc of blood. Considering you have on average 5L of blood in circulation, donating blood can literally ‘take a lot out of you’. Canadian Blood Services mandates that donors wait a minimum of 56 days between whole blood donations.

  3. Know your Health History - since many diseases are transferred through blood, the clinic has very detailed eligibility requirements. For first time donations be prepared to answer questions about your health history, sexuality and sexual history, history of illegal drug use or prostitution, recent travel and current and past medications among other things.

For more information, visit the Canadian Blood Services website

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