Ok, this might sound like a little bit of an odd Christmas present, but bear with us. Because giving the gift of blood this year might just be the best present you ever gave. After all, if the blood you donate could help to save someone’s life, then isn’t that a better gift than the latest must-have gadget or toy?
And this is the time to do it, because November through to the New Year is typically a challenging time for blood stocks. Hospitals in England and North Wales will need almost half a million units of blood to see them through the period. But with Christmas shopping, the party season and the general festive rush, together with the extended public holidays, taking the time to donate can slip off people’s to-do list, putting pressure on blood stocks.
In case that doesn’t have you tracking down your nearest donation session and reaching for your coat, meet Alexis – the star of a new NHS campaign – to tell you all about this year’s must-have gift.
Where can I give blood?
What’s involved in giving blood?
What will they ask me?
How can I prepare to give blood?
- Eat regular meals to avoid feeling lightheaded
- A good night’s sleep will boost your wellbeing
- Drink plenty of fluids 24 hours before donating, but avoid alcohol
- Put on loose and comfortable clothing, avoiding tight sleeves
- It’s normal to be nervous, so bring a friend along or your iPod so you can relax
Who can’t give blood?
- You’re pregnant or you’ve had a baby in the last 6 months
- You’re a female donor who had given blood in the last 12 weeks
- You have a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore
- You’ve returned from a malarial area in the last 6 months
- You’re currently taking antibiotics or you have just finished a course within the last seven days, or have had an infection in that last two weeks.
- You’ve had a tattoo, semi-permanent make-up or any cosmetic treatments that involves skin pieercing in the last 4 weeks.
- You’ve had acupuncture in the last 4 months, unless with the NHS or a qualified healthcare professional
- You have received blood during the course of any medical treatment anywhere in the world since 1st January 1980.