Blood Donation 101: Why You Should Donate

Posted January 19th, 2011 by webadmin

With a new year comes a new opportunity to set personal achievement goals for giving back to the communities in which we live. Blood donation is an excellent way for hemochromatosis patients to give back because blood-letting is a necessary part of treatment, and 100 per cent of your contribution goes to helping people in need.

The Canadian Hemochromatosis Society (CHS) is a member of Canadian Blood Service’s Partners for Life program. You too can join others in the hemochromatosis community to help maintain the country’s continuous supply of blood, and save up to three lives each time you donate. How do you join? Go to, follow the link to CBS Partners for Life Registration Form and enter the ID# CANA002257. Once you are registered, all of your future blood donations are automatically tracked through the CHS team. Together in 2010, we donated 72 units of blood.

Let’s donate 100 units in 2011!

Follow these few easy steps before, during, and after your donation and you’ll see that blood donation is easy, safe, and extremely rewarding.

Pre-screen yourself. Visit or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to check if and when you qualify to give blood.* Some common reasons for being deferred from blood donation include:

  • Dental work in past 72 hours
  • Travel to malaria-risk area in past 12 months
  • Tattoos/piercings in past six months
  • Residence in UK or France between 1980 and 1996

Make an appointment
. Call 1-888-2-DONATE before visiting a clinic, to avoid extra waiting or being turned away. Sometimes, when clinics are fully booked, those without appointments aren’t able to give that day.

Drink lots of water. Drinking about four to eight glasses of water a day for at least two days before your appointment will help plump up your veins, and drinking a big glass of water within a half hour of your donation may help reduce the risk of feeling light-headed following your donation. It’s also best to avoid caffeine for at least a few hours before your donation.

Eat well. It’s very important to have eaten a good meal within three hours of your donation, as this will help keep your blood sugar levels in check and ward off any potential light-headedness.

Take a breath. To keep nerves at bay, look away from the needle and take a big breath as it goes into your arm. After the initial pinch, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to feel no trace of the needle at all!

Keep warm and well
. If you begin to feel chilled or unwell during your donation, make sure to call a staff member over. Most often a simple act such as wrapping a blanket around your legs, depressurizing your blood pressure cuff, or elevating your feet an inch or two is all it takes to feel better immediately.

Relax and enjoy. After you’ve finished donating, you’ll rest five minutes on the chair and then another five to 10 minutes in the refreshment area, where you’re encouraged to have a light snack to help boost energy levels. Make sure to take your “rest easy™ attitude with you for the remainder of the day as no heavy exercising is allowed for at least eight hours.

*Final eligibility is determined by clinic staff at the time of your donation.