Author Topic: Tips on Donating Blood  (Read 9177 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2009, 12:11:01 AM »
Ok, I'm beginning to feel ignored here! :D I need some tips before this weekend!
Do what JoW said. ;D

I wouldn't worry too much. I'm sure you'll be awesome. I'll tell you what helps me:

1. Drink a lot of fluid. Try to drink about a quart (this is about 1L. But Americans use quarts right?) of water before your donation.
2. Have a good night's sleep the night before. Everything sucks when you're tired, especially donating blood.
3. Eat a good breakfast. Doesn't matter what really, just don't skip it. Don't be hungry when you're donating - you need to keep your blood sugar up.
4. If you are worried about pain (certain types of pain scare me, pain in my veins is one of those types), mentally focus in advance of donating. I had a really bad time the second time I donated. I was really scared to donate a third time. I wasn't sure if I could deal with the pain again. But I decided that I was totally going to go for it. If there was too much pain I had a plan (stop the process), but I somehow mentally decided that there would be no pain. And you know what? It completely worked. I didn't even jump on the finger stick like I normally do. I had pretty much no pain at all for my third donation. I feel awesome about donating now, I'm not scared at all.

It's hard to explain, but if this is a worry for you, I recommend some advance mental toughening/focus. It helped me loads.

I do eat a steak the dinner before, mostly because I really like steak and I feel that I deserve one if I donate blood. However IME I do better on the iron test post-steak. This is not based on statistically valid observations though, just on 2 iron test results (one post-steak and one not).
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2009, 12:27:43 AM »
Nurv, again, those are nice tips. But, they don't answer what I asked. ;)


Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2009, 12:32:52 AM »
Nurv, again, those are nice tips. But, they don't answer what I asked. ;)
Oops, I didn't see your post before JoW's about blood pressure.  :-[ I thought you meant tips since your post came after JoW's. I hope my tips are useful anyway.

If blood pressure is a problem, I think you have to talk to your doctor. My Dad has high blood pressure. He exercises, eats healthy food, avoids stress (excpet he does run his own business, so maybe he doesn't), takes medicine and never eats/drinks grapefruit because that conflicts with his medicine.

However, this does not help you in the short term.

I really think that it's important to visit your doctor if you can, a sudden blood pressure increase is worth the visit IMO. For blood donation, this issue may not bar you, so why not show up anyway? :)

I hope this is more useful! ;D
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2009, 12:37:00 AM »
But, are there things that I can do before I go in? For instance, breathing slowly and deeply would help, I would think. But, are there other things like that that bring bp down when you're about to give?

(Maybe I'm not asking my question properly to get my point across? ???)

ETA: I've recently had a full workup by a cardiologist (including a stress test), so my heart is fine.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 12:41:32 AM by Dottyg »

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2009, 12:49:08 AM »
Aside from avoiding stress I can't think of anything. Next time you see your doctor or cardiologist, ask for blood donation tips specifically. In my limited experience I think you will be fine. My Dad used to donate when he had high blood pressure and they never turned him away.

It's quite possible I just can't read today. Don't worry about it. ;D
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #50 on: December 11, 2009, 01:06:53 AM »
But, are there things that I can do before I go in? For instance, breathing slowly and deeply would help, I would think. But, are there other things like that that bring bp down when you're about to give?

(Maybe I'm not asking my question properly to get my point across? ???)

ETA: I've recently had a full workup by a cardiologist (including a stress test), so my heart is fine.



If you eat beforehand, skip the salt. My father and I are both prone to high BP, and it's scary how much a salty meal will make it skyrocket.

Breezygirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 426
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #51 on: December 11, 2009, 01:55:52 AM »
I donate blood as well and my tip would be not to chew gum or mints when you go in. I did that once and the nurses said it can make your temperature go up to high (and it did  ???). I had to wait 25 minutes to be re-tested to make sure that my temp was ok and I really did not have a fever and was approved to donate blood.                         
Someday, somehow, somewhere.....

Sophia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11673
  • xi
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #52 on: December 11, 2009, 11:20:09 AM »
Have you tried going into a zen mode? 
I'm normally a 120/80 person, but sometimes when I get anxious about the medical problem it can rise to 140 or 150 / 100.   I then do my best to go into zen mode and have them redo it, and I've always dropped back down to 120/80 or even 110/70.  I don't know how that would work for you if your norm is higher, but I also don't know what else to suggest.  As long as they take your blood, what is the downside in regard to donation in high blood pressure. 

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #53 on: December 11, 2009, 11:49:37 AM »
Have you tried going into a zen mode? 
I'm normally a 120/80 person, but sometimes when I get anxious about the medical problem it can rise to 140 or 150 / 100.   I then do my best to go into zen mode and have them redo it, and I've always dropped back down to 120/80 or even 110/70.  I don't know how that would work for you if your norm is higher, but I also don't know what else to suggest.  As long as they take your blood, what is the downside in regard to donation in high blood pressure. 

The downside is that they won't take it to begin with!  If the pressure is too high, you're ineligible.  You get 3 tries while you're there.  If it's high all 3 times, you can't donate that day and have to come back.  I want to avoid that.

How do you go into a "zen mode"?


Sophia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11673
  • xi
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #54 on: December 11, 2009, 01:30:43 PM »
...How do you go into a "zen mode"?

That's just my word for my attempt at meditation.  Slow, steady breathing.  Focus the mind on someplace tranquil.  A lake does it for me.  Humming a slow happy song in my head. 
I've also noticed that if they put the cuff on too tight the pain causes my blood pressure to shoot up. 

JoW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 875
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #55 on: December 11, 2009, 08:43:06 PM »
JoW, I actually do find that an iron-rich meal the night before helps me. I am not anemic though. And actually my diet has a decent amount of iron in it normally though I don't take supplements.

I also find that moving the fingers on my donating arm does help, by gently squeezing them (without actually moving the arm). This is per instruction from the nurse, so whatever the nurse says, I will do.
Yes, the techs here give you a ball and have you squeeze it every 3-5 seconds to keep the blood moving in your arm, without moving any other part of your arm.  But if you find yourself close to passing out wiggling the rest of you will drive your blood pressure up a little and help keep you concious.  And even if you feel find a little wiggling will make the donation a little faster. 

My blood pressure runs on the low side.  Not dangerous, but a little low. 


And I thought of another hint - this one comes from a tech took my blood years ago -
After the donation they have you hold a gauze square on the needle site and stick your arm up in the air.  This is to make the bleeding stop.  While you are doing that, flex your wrist.   Wiggle it front and back several times, then side to side several times.  That activates tendons in your arm, which helps the hole close, which makes the bleedign stop.  (I live on aspirin so I have to watch for post-donation leakage at the needle site.)

mbbored

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5315
    • Budget Grad Student
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #56 on: December 12, 2009, 12:27:04 AM »
For my teeny tiny little veins, I'm always instructed to warm them up first.  I'll even go so far as to put a heating pad on it for a while to help make it pop.

USC1972

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #57 on: December 12, 2009, 04:23:55 AM »
I'm sorry that I put the "bowing down" - as I can see how that could offend you.  Just know that offense was not my intent.

No hard feelings. 

As to your current question, what is your blood pressure normally, and what has it risen to?  Some fluctuation is normal, even as you change position from standing to laying down.

Did you take it yourself, have it done at the doctors office, or by one of those automated machines in a store?  Was it one high reading or did you have several?  Accuracy of methods can vary, so if it wasn't checked in a professional setting, consider that as a first step, if you are concerned.

Also consider any unusual stress or activity around the time it was taken, and any medications you started or stopped taking, including over the counter ones like aspirin and cold medicines.

The "quick" fixes usually involve limiting your sodium, caffeine and alcohol intake, which can have noticeable results in just a few days.  Remember that processed foods and prepared meals have very high sodium levels. 

Longterm the recommendations usually include limiting tobacco (in all forms), weightloss if necessary, regular exercise, a healthy, balanced diet, and stress reduction.

KCee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2067
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #58 on: December 12, 2009, 11:50:05 PM »
Don't get up off the table until you are absolutely ready, not a minute before.  I used to try and be a hero and go to the snack table after only resting for a couple of minutes, but my body needs for me to lie down with my knees up for nearly 20 minutes or I end up blacking out and that doesn't help anyone. 

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2009, 12:33:30 AM »
Dottyg, did you donate this weekend? How did it go? :)
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.