Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

How you can save six lives now

How you can save six lives now

Hello again!

I hope you’re safe and healthy!

I recently donated blood and thought it would be nice to share my experience with you and explain the amazing results of donating!

To be honest, this was one of the most spontaneous donations I have ever done. Usually, I book them in advance online, however, you have to ensure you eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water prior to your donation which sometimes stresses me out as I don’t have a huge appetite at the moment. However, I decided to meet up with my friend in Birmingham (my first time in absolute ages!) and we went to Las Iguanas for dinner. We both ordered nachos to share, veggie enchiladas, a mocktail each and a huge jug of water – which I practically drank to myself as she already had water with her haha.

After a really nice day out with my friend, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to donate blood as I had eaten a lot and drank plenty! I easily booked this on the website (just click here) and was able to book a slot straight away! This was perfect as I didn’t have to hang around waiting for my appointment, I just walked straight in and was seen to immediately.

All of the staff were very friendly and helpful – this is at the donation centre on New Street in Birmingham. On arrival, they took my temperature and ensured I was wearing a facemask and used hand gel in order to make the place Covid-safe. I was then given a choice of water or effervescence drink – I chose the effervescence drink, it tasted lovely! I sat down and filled out the usual form (it has a page of questions regarding your health). Next, I was called through to speak with one of the nurses. She asked me about a few of my answers, asked how much I had drank and eaten and pricked my finger to get a tiny blood sample. This was just to check my iron levels were good but as my blood sat at the top of the testing solution, she had to use a different test to check my iron levels, but they were all good!

I was then taken into the donation room and sat on a comfy chair. The nurse cleaned my arm for 30 seconds and gave me a sheet to read with some exercises on (it is important to do these exercises when donating to keep your circulation going and prevent you from feeling faint). The needle was placed into my arm and it took 11 minutes to donate the full amount of blood (this is around 470ml). The machine did bleep quite a lot but it was only to let the nurses know that I was close to filling the bag. The lovely nurses came over to check that I was okay, removed the needle, applied a plaster (I was told to keep this on for 6 hours but I just left it on overnight), and was given a choice of snacks and drinks. I chose KitKat and lemon squash and I had to eat and drink this while waiting 15 minutes. This is just to make sure donors don’t feel faint after donating.

I felt fine after donating, however, if you decide to donate and you feel faint afterwards, you should eat iron rich foods such as spinach, raisins, cereals, beans or meat. The next day, I received a lovely email with a thank you message from a young girl who received my blood donation. Did you know that one donation can help 6 children, or 3 adults! That is a lot more people than I thought I was helping!

There are also other things which we can donate such as platelets but I was told that it is usually only men that can do this as you need wide veins. A different machine is used to do this as it separates the platelets from the blood. I wish I could donate this too but I have narrow veins unfortunately!

You need to wait about 4 weeks before being able to donate blood again so that your body can replace what you have donated. There is nothing to worry about regarding losing the blood and people tend to feel a lot healthier afterward as the body will generate new fresh blood.

I hope this has inspired you to donate! Think about all the lovely people you could help!

Thanks for reading!

Charley x

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