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Am I eligible to donate blood?

You must be in good health, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 45 kilos. Donors must not be older than 55 years for their first donation and subsequent donors not older than 60. You will also need to pass physical and health history reviews prior to donating. Conditions that require a temporary deferral are pregnancy, travel to certain parts of the world, inoculations, some health conditions and certain medications. Final eligibility is determined by medical professionals at the time of donation.

Last time I was turned down when I wanted to donate blood, does it mean I can’t donate at all?

Most reasons, for which donors are turned away from donating blood are temporary, not permanent. For example, one common reason for a deferral is low iron level in the blood, but iron levels fluctuate daily and are affected by what you eat. Check the eligibility requirements to see if you may be eligible to donate. A “mini-physical” is given to all potential donors to ensure they are healthy enough to donate.

What are the risks for me as a donor?

Donating blood in Thailand is safe. Sterile needles and bags used to collect blood are medical disposables, used only once, making the spread of infection to the donor impossible.

How often can I give blood?

The Thai Red Cross regulations allow people to donate whole blood once every 3 Months. The waiting period between donations can be different for other blood components. For example, donating only platelets in a process called apheresis requires only a 3 day wait before a person can give again. Donating two units of red blood cells through a similar process doubles the waiting period to 112 days.

Should I give blood now or wait until I am called?

The CBR helps to reduce unnecessary travel for the donors. Blood can be stored for 21 days, if not needed it has to be disposed of. Not to waste precious blood, the CBR will contact suitable donors on demand.
Rhesus factor positive donors are encouraged to donate frequently as demand is constant.

Is my personal information confidential?

Yes. The information provided to the CBR and the Thai Red Cross are kept confidential and will be used exclusively for the purposes of the register or the blood bank, except where required by law. If your blood tests positive to any of the administered standard tests, you will receive confidential notification. The Red Cross maintains strict confidentiality of all blood donor records.

How can I help to ensure a pleasant donation experience?

You’ll want a good night’s sleep the night before (at least 6 hours), and a good breakfast or lunch before your donation. Drink sufficient fluids like juice, milk, or soda ahead of time. No alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to the donation. Take your normal medications as prescribed. Ensure you have adequate iron level by making iron-rich foods part of your daily diet. These include red meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, nuts, raisins and prunes. During your donation you should be relaxed. After your donation, rest and have some fluids like juice and a light meal. Then you can go about your daily activities, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the remainder of the day.

How much time do I have to spare to donate blood apart from the travel, which is not predictable?

The whole process takes about an hour. It starts with registration, a health history and a basic-physical examination. Then comes the actual donation, which usually takes less than 10-12 minutes. Afterwards, you will be asked to spend around ten minutes to rest and you receive a light refreshment before returning to your normal activities.

How much blood is taken, won’t it make me weak?

A blood donation equals approximately half a litre of blood. The average adult body has 5-6 litres. The vast majority of people will not feel any different because of the donation. A very small percentage may experience temporary dizziness, but some rest and fluids will help you feel better quickly. Your body will replace the lost fluid within 24 hours.

Will it hurt?

Everyone experiences discomfort or pain differently; but generally speaking it should not be more irritable than a normal blood withdrawal.

Is my blood given for elective surgeries? Can I direct my blood donation to an individual?

The CBR is for medical emergencies only to increase the availability for those in need.
Patients scheduled for surgery may be eligible to donate blood for themselves in the weeks before non-emergency surgery in a process known as autologous donation. If an autologous donation is not used, it is discarded. Family members and friends can also make directed donations. Directed donations are fully tested, so if they are not used by the intended patient, they can be released for use by other patients.