JAM | Jun 14, 2023

It’s World Blood Donor Day! Five things you should do before donating blood

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Each year, healthcare organisations across the world commemorate World Blood Donor Day on June 14, to highlight the importance of safe blood and blood products while encouraging individuals to donate blood to save a life.

World Blood Donor Day 2023 is being commemorated under the theme ‘Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.’

The importance of donating blood can not be underscored enough. Donating blood is a life-saving gift that can help patients survive surgeries, win their fight against cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.

The Blood Bank of Jamaica, an entity of the Ministry of Health and Wellness responsible for the collection, testing and distribution of all blood and its byproducts across Jamaica has been hosting a series of blood drives to tackle the series of blood shortage across the island.

To commemorate the day, the Blood Bank will be hosting its blood drive at the National Blood Transfusion Service today (June 14) between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 21 Slipe Pen Road, Kingston.

Similar to donating blood at blood drives, you can donate blood at the National Blood Transfusion Service collection centres.

Corporate area locations

  • The National Blood Transfusion Service: Blood Bank
  • Kiwanis Blood Collection Centre: National Chest Hospital
  • University Hospital of the West Indies
  • National Chest Hospital
  • Spanish Town Hospital

Outside of the corporate area

  • Falmouth Hospital
  • Port Antonio Hospital
  • St. Ann’s Bay Hospital
  • May Pen Hospital
  • Mandeville Hospital
  • Cornwall Regional Hospital
  • Savanna La Mar Hospital

Now that you are aware of the available locations to donate blood. Here are a few things that you need to bear in mind before going to donate blood.

Eat a healthy meal

Blood donors are generally required to be in good health. It is recommended that you eat a healthy meal that is rich in iron and vitamins before donating blood.

Meats such as beef, ham, pork and poultry are good sources rich in iron which is needed to make haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells.

Be sure to create a balance in your daily meal intake by eating fruits and vegetables to provide the body with essential vitamins.

Drink adequate water

It is recommended that you drink plenty of water before donating blood to increase the volume of blood in the body. The American Red Cross recommends that you drink an extra 16 oz. of water or other nonalcoholic drink before the appointment.

Get a good night’s rest

Get a good night’s rest (eight to nine hours of sleep) the night before donating blood. This will allow you to feel more energetic and alert and reduce the risk of you feeling ill.

Wear a comfortable upper garment

Another tip to note before going to donate blood is to wear comfortable clothing, especially upper garments that will allow the healthcare workers to access the veins easily.

Do not smoke or drink the day before

If you are a person who smokes or drinks alcoholic beverages regularly and cannot seem to break the habit, then you may need to say goodbye to that habit for at least a day.

Drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking is harmful to your overall health and to ensure that the blood you are donating is safe for others it is recommended that you do not smoke or drink because it can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.

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