Random Thoughts: #59 Side Effects of Blood Donation & Ways to Curb Them

Side Effects of Blood Donation and Ways to Curb Them

side effects of blood donation

Donating blood helps save lives and comes with several positive advantages for both the recipients and donors. However, there are some side effects of blood donation, that individuals must not ignore. 

Scroll through to know the various side effects of donating blood!

What Are the Side Effects Of Blood Donation?

Illustrated below are the various side effects after donating blood –

1. Pain and Bruising

Donors experience minor bruising because of the blood under the skin surface. This is a normal reaction and usually goes away on its own within a week. Individuals might also experience tenderness, pain or minor swelling at the needle insertion site.

A non-profit organisation named Bloodworks Northwest states that applying a compress can help relieve the swelling and pain. A compress might help ease any tenderness till the pain goes off from the site. This organisation also suggests applying a cold compress for 20 minutes four times in a day for the first two days. Later on, one can apply a warm compress for 20 minutes four times a day.

Having mentioned all these, individuals must contact a doctor if they have severe or long-lasting pain.

2. Fatigue and Light-headedness

After donation, donors might feel tired or experience light-headedness, nausea, or dizziness. These side effects of blood donation are due to the temporary lowering of blood pressure.

Individuals feeling faint can sit down and put their head between their knees such that it is lower than the heart. Lying down with their legs elevated can also help avoid falling. However, if the symptoms do not improve, they can get in touch with a doctor.

3. Minor Bleeding

Donors might experience minor bleeding from the needle site after the donation. In order to avoid this, they can keep the bandage on for a minimum of 4 hours after donating their blood.

In case the site starts bleeding again, they can apply pressure for 2 to 5 minutes and let the bandage stay in place for another 4 hours.

Besides all these side effects, the most studied and recognised side effect of donating blood is iron deficiency. This side effect is more frequently linked with whole blood donation.

What Are the Things Individuals Must Know Prior to Blood Donation?

Apart from knowing the various side effects of blood donation, individuals must also be aware of the things to keep in mind before donating their blood. Given below are some of these –

1. Drinking Adequate Amounts of Water

Around half of the donated blood comprises water. The collective body fluids lost during a donation can lead to a drop in blood pressure, thereby making the individual feel dizzy and faint. In order to avoid this side effect after donating blood, individuals must opt to drink around 500ml of water before donating.

Besides, it is also crucial to stay adequately hydrated during the days leading up to the donation. This will help compensate for the fluids lost during the donation and will also help to get the blood volume levels back to normal.

2. Eating Adequately

Drawing blood from the body impacts the blood pressure for a short while. Low blood pressure can result in dizziness, fainting, shivering, etc. These conditions worsen if one is donating blood on an empty stomach.

Eating adequately prior to donation will help keep the blood sugar levels stable. This is important so that donors don’t experience some of the side effects of blood donation, such as feeling dizzy or lightheaded after the donation. Having a snack before donating can also help maintain blood sugar levels. 

Donors must ensure that their diet is rich in iron by consuming green leafy vegetables and meats. This can also help avoid the long term effect of blood donation as mentioned above, that is, iron deficiency.

3. Avoiding Vigorous Exercise

While light exercise such as walking is alright, donors must avoid doing any vigorous exercise on their donation day – both before and after donating.

Resting properly is vital to replenish the fluids lost while donating blood. This, in turn, will help avoid some negative effects of donating blood, such as feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

4. Avoiding Drinking or Smoking Before Blood Donation

Nicotine and alcohol can stay in an individual’s bloodstream for quite a long time. Donating blood containing alcohol and/or nicotine can be unhealthy for the recipient.

This is why individuals must avoid consuming alcohol before and after their donation because it might impact hydration levels and delay recovery.

It is always good to plan out a blood donation, and one can also consider consulting a doctor before donating. However, individuals must keep in mind the above mentioned side effects of blood donation and take steps to avoid them.

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