Author Topic: Tips on Donating Blood  (Read 10572 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Tips on Donating Blood
« on: October 30, 2009, 04:23:21 PM »
This is kinda a spinoff on the Blood Donation thread (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=66045.0).

But, we have a lot of experienced people who have donated before that I think can help with some helpful tips on what to do to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.  Maybe some people who have never given before can get some ideas on things they can do to help them donate without pain or fear!

What are some things that have helped you in the process?  Is there something a new person should know about that finger pricking part to make it not so painful?  What about that dang blood pressure cuff?  Any ideas on how to keep that from hurting as much?  What about the donation part itself?  Is there something you've learned to do that could help another person?

Some of you have small veins.  What have you been told to do that would help someone else who is a difficult stick?

Some of you faint easily.  Have you learned some cool trick to help you keep from doing that?

Let's get a Helpful Hints list going to help each other.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 12:13:57 PM by DottyG »

Sophia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11813
  • xi
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 04:35:20 PM »
I know how to not faint.  It can be stopped even if your ears are already whushing and your eyesight is going funky.  I remember it as

GET YOUR HEAD BELOW YOUR KNEES

I suspect it is really more get your head below your heart, but for a fuzzy brain the knees are better to aim for.  Standing up, I touch my toes.  Sitting down, I put my head between my knees.  It a doctor's chair I say, "Faint.  Head Back. (repeat)" while swatting away smelling salts.  Works everytime. 

Sitting in a restaurant booth is the only time I have problems, and near fainting has only been caused by someone's deep discussion of a gory injury, so asking for the subject to change has worked. 

Veronica

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5158
  • the Patron Saint of Judgmental Statues
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2009, 04:35:35 PM »
I haven't donated in a long time for medical reasons but I used to give all the time.  My advice is drink lots and lots of water the morning before you give blood.  It will make it go much quicker.

I'm also impossible to stick.  I always say that upfront and there's always the one person there who is the "go to" person for capturing a vein.  Usually when I say that they tell me to wait for "Pam" and she'll  get me on 1-2 tries.  

Also, and this is just common sense I lacked in college, don't try to ride your bike the mile home.  You will start to faint.  

Florida

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 14247
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2009, 04:38:00 PM »
When I used to donate, I used to loosely clench and unclench the fingers on the arm with the needle in it.  It seemed to make the blood flow better.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

Hushabye

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7640
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 04:40:42 PM »
Don't forget to eat beforehand and to be well-hydrated.  Not that I ever tried it on a day when I had skipped lunch and subsequently passed out or anything...  :P

If you know you have a tendency to feel faint, let them know ahead of time.  That way, they can go ahead and lay you back and/or get you some Sprite or something to sip on.  For me, that usually works.  Usually.   ::)

I have nothing on the finger sticking -- to me, that just always sucks.

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 04:44:00 PM »
Relax. Being physically tense makes everything more uncomfortable because your body literally becomes more rigid, which makes it harder for the needle to go in or the cuff to tighten.

I also find that I prefer to watch the needle go in for both the fingerstick and the arm stick so it can't "surprise" me, but I've never known anyone else with that preference.

Know your sensitivities before donating. I'm reactive hypoglycemic, so I can't just eat cookies or ice cream before or after - I'll pass out. I usually try to donate after a nice serving of protein, preferably a steak. Avoid anything that could make you queasy, including a really huge meal - I literally eat just a steak. I shouldn't have to say this, but don't drink alcohol directly beforehand!

If you have difficult veins, it's a good idea to wear a loosefitting short-sleeved shirt, like a baggy tee, so that your clothing doesn't get in the way. On that note, don't think they don't want you to come in just because you have difficult veins. Also, don't assume that you have difficult veins - sometimes all it takes is a really talented lab tech.

It's better to make an appointment if possible, because people are more generous than you might expect, and there can be a long wait for dropins.

Remember to only give to the Red Cross, Canadian Blood Services, or another nonprofit organization! If anyone is going to profit off your blood, it should be you!

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 04:45:45 PM »
I have nothing on the finger sticking -- to me, that just always sucks.

The fingerstick is totally the worst part. People who don't donate never believe me, but it is. I used to always jump and yell "OW!" like a 3-year-old.

Bibliophile

  • May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12025
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 04:48:49 PM »
Tilt your head to the side to make it easier on the vampire to reach a vein.

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 14247
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 04:52:10 PM »
If you don't normally drink coffee and you've been on a course all day where the only beverage offered was coffee and you've had four cups of the stuff, don't donate blood that day.

I was bouncing off the walls so much, I think they probably pitched that unit without testing it for anything.   :D
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 04:55:46 PM »
If you don't normally drink coffee and you've been on a course all day where the only beverage offered was coffee and you've had four cups of the stuff, don't donate blood that day.

I was bouncing off the walls so much, I think they probably pitched that unit without testing it for anything.   :D

There was some blood in your caffeine system? :D

HeebyJeebyLeebee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5019
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 04:57:19 PM »
Since I donate through my office, I like to go earlier in the day not too long after a large balanced breakfast.  That way I have all day to recover before I drive home.  For some reason, it's easier for me to cope with any wooziness while seated at my cubicle rather than trying to drive.  

A large, balanced, healthy meal before really helps me*.  And then I like to snack on fruit and water before heading down to our lobby.  And then eat heathfully the rest of the day.  I avoid junk food on donation days.  

*I have some really good breakfast spots in the tunnel under my office.  So if I don't have time for breakfast at home, I usually purchase a fruit & yogurt cup and an egg/sausage/cheese kolache or breakfast sandwich.  

And the finger stick is definitely the worst part.  Once I'm laying down and actually donating, I like to listen to music or just nap.   8)

Wear short sleeves or something that's easy to roll up.  Don't wear anything tight.  Be comfy.
I am grateful for the friends I have made on EHell and everything I have learned, but it is time I move on.

gibsongirl

  • Guest
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 04:59:16 PM »
I also find that I prefer to watch the needle go in for both the fingerstick and the arm stick so it can't "surprise" me, but I've never known anyone else with that preference.

You do now!  I love to watch.  And I like the way the blood filled tubes feel hot across my wrist.  I'll stop with the gross stuff now.

I pod all the above advice, and add that taking it easy for the next few days is a very wise and good thing.  I donated yesterday (WOO HOO, I'm at the two gallon mark!), and today has been a series of 1) stand up, 2) grab the nearest support, 3) wait for the ringing in my ears to stop and the gray in my vision to go away, 4) go on with life.   Low BP bites...like a vampire!

Amalthea

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 891
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2009, 05:35:58 PM »
Don't donate on an empty stomach.  I learned that one the hard way.  If you're prone to passing out having them go ahead and tilt your chair back and/or drinking a coke or juice while you donate helps.

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2009, 05:44:01 PM »
I also find that I prefer to watch the needle go in for both the fingerstick and the arm stick so it can't "surprise" me, but I've never known anyone else with that preference.

You do now!  I love to watch.  And I like the way the blood filled tubes feel hot across my wrist.  I'll stop with the gross stuff now.

I pod all the above advice, and add that taking it easy for the next few days is a very wise and good thing.  I donated yesterday (WOO HOO, I'm at the two gallon mark!), and today has been a series of 1) stand up, 2) grab the nearest support, 3) wait for the ringing in my ears to stop and the gray in my vision to go away, 4) go on with life.   Low BP bites...like a vampire!

I don't think it's gross, and I know what you mean. When I was a teenager and getting routine labwork done, I asked if I could have a vial of my blood as a souvenir. That was a no. :P

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2009, 05:56:33 PM »
I know how to not faint.  It can be stopped even if your ears are already whushing and your eyesight is going funky.  I remember it as

GET YOUR HEAD BELOW YOUR KNEES

I suspect it is really more get your head below your heart, but for a fuzzy brain the knees are better to aim for.  Standing up, I touch my toes.  Sitting down, I put my head between my knees.  It a doctor's chair I say, "Faint.  Head Back. (repeat)" while swatting away smelling salts.  Works everytime. 

Sitting in a restaurant booth is the only time I have problems, and near fainting has only been caused by someone's deep discussion of a gory injury, so asking for the subject to change has worked. 
Absolutely. I would also say, before you do anything, sit down first, on the floor if need be. Then put your head between (or below if you can) your knees.

I almost fainted once, but doing this caused me not to faint.

My blood donation tips:

1. Drink a lot of fluid beforehand. Steadily hours, or even the previous day, is best.
2. Get a good night's sleep the night before.
3. If you're hard to stick, as for an experienced phlebotomist.
4. People with small veins may need someone to hold the needle the entire time. If you think that the needle's suction might cause it to touch the side of the vein during the draw (this would block bloodflow, it doesn't hurt in particular but then the blood won't draw anymore), then ask for someone to hold the needle.
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.