The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, and the hospital emergency room is no exception. According to Canadian Blood Services, to meet hospital demands, 17,000 units of blood are regularly collected each week and the need for blood increases during the holidays when regular donors may be busy or traveling.
Donating blood is a wonderful way to help others but seniors should carefully consider a number of factors before giving this lift-saving gift.
- Talk with your doctor to determine if you are in good enough health to donate
- If you have recently had a cold or flu, you should not donate
- You must weigh over 110 pounds to donate a single unit of blood safely, any less may leave donor dizzy and prone to falls
- If you have visited the dentist in the past 24 hours or had recent dental surgery you should not donate
- Some medications may effect eligibility to donate – ask your doctor
- Platelet donation takes much longer (an hour and a half) than whole blood and may be too much for seniors
- Anyone who has traveled where health restrictions are weaker may pass on a virus such as meningitis to a recipient even without donor symptoms
- Those with the HIV virus should never donate blood
The large majority of donors have no adverse reactions and because blood is screened in the donation process, undiagnosed health issues can be detected. Donors will have their temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and iron levels taken as part of the process.
To learn more about donating blood and to take an eligibility quiz, visit the Canadian Blood Services website at https://www.blood.ca/en/blood/eligibility-quiz . Always check with your health care professional before considering donating blood.