As most surgical treatments and many medical procedures require blood transfusions, there is a constant need for blood donation at hospitals and clinics across the country. On World Blood Donor Day, we are once again reminded about the terrible shortfalls in blood donation in India. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India still faces a shortage of around 10%, with some states like Bihar having a shocking deficit of 85%!
Yet, many of us remain indifferent to the problem and many more shy away from blood donation for fear of weakness or fatigue and infections following the procedure. Don’t let these fears stop you from donating life-saving blood, as there are some simple strategies to avoid weakness and fatigue following blood donation.
For a few days before donating blood, try to increase your iron intake by consuming more iron rich foods like red meat, poultry, fish, beans, spinach, broccoli, and other foods that are fortified with iron. This will help to raise hematocrit levels and it ensures that iron levels do not fall too low after donation.
To increase iron absorption, you should also consume vitamin C rich fruits like oranges and strawberries or veggies like red peppers and kale.
Additionally, make sure to get adequate rest by sleeping early the night before your blood donation. It would also be a good idea to increase your fluid intake before donating blood.
“Aside from staying calm & relaxing during the process, there’s not much else you need to do”
There really isn’t much that you need to worry about or do during the procedure. In fact, it’s not very different from doing a blood test for malaria or any other disease. The most important thing for you to do is to simply relax and allow the nurses to do their job. You can even listen to music or read during the process.
If possible, try and carry an oral rehydration solution along, so that you can keep sipping on it from time to time.
“Increase fluid intake & avoid alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours following blood donation”
There is little risk of weakness and fatigue if you adhere to the recommendations strictly. Nevertheless, to avoid any kind of malaise, drink an additional 800 ml to a liter of water during the day. Most importantly, avoid consuming any alcoholic beverages.
You’ll also need to take a break from your gyming after donating blood, which means that you should also avoid any other activity that is strenuous. Dizziness and light headedness is not uncommon following blood donation, but this is temporary and will resolve in a matter of minutes if you sit or lie down until you feel better.
With these simple tips you can safely donate blood without having to worry about weakness, fatigue, fainting, or depressed immunity. Moreover, donating blood regularly offers several health benefits, improving blood flow and also giving you a free physical check!
Besides, the little discomfort that you endure through blood donation could help save a life and someday, you yourself may be dependent on the generosity and compassion of a stranger.
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