Life Med Ambulance Services has dedicated ourselves to host blood donation drives every 56 to urge the public to donate blood for those in need.
Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks.
Every unit of blood can save up to three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system. This is the journey of 1 unit of donated blood.
Am I eligible?
Generally you can donate if you are healthy and lead a low risk lifestyle.
“Healthy” means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, “healthy” also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.
“Risky behaviour”, such as having sex with someone you dont know or injecting yourself with drugs, means that you have been at risk of contracting transfusion transmissible infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. We rely on your honesty and ask that you NOT donate if you have engaged in risky behaviour.
You must consider your blood safe for transfusion to a patient.
Who can donate to this cause?
The universal access to safe blood is the lifeline for the healthcare system of any nation. As South Africans, we can all be proud of our dedicated and selfless voluntary donors who regularly donate blood to save lives of thousands of our people every year.
Minimum Requirements to be a Blood Donor:
You are between the ages of 16 and 65 years old, for first time donors.
You weigh a minimum of 50 kgs (and platelets a minimum of 55 kgs)
You are in good health.
You lead a low risk lifestyle.
You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and platelets in the last 14 days.)
Your pulse is between 50-100 regular beats per minute.
Your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) (180/100mmHg) and above 100 systolic (first number) and above 60 diastolic (second number) (100/60mmHg).
Your haemoglobin level is 12.5 g/dL or above.
Please ask for more information if:
- You have had surgery in the last 6 months or are due for an operation within the next 6 weeks.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.
- You are on medication such as antibiotics
- You are from, or have travelled to, a malaria area.
- You have had cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, a bleeding disorder or any other chronic medical condition.
- You are involved in a “hazardous” occupation or sport e.g. operating heavy machinery, flying a plane, scuba diving, working at heights etc.
If you are deferred please note that we do so in the best interest of your health as well as the safety of the blood being donated.
Not feeling well, sore throat, cold, respiratory infection, flu, cold sore
- Can donate when symptom-free (about 7 days).
Antibiotics (except antibiotics for acne)
- 7 days after treatment is over.
Ear, body and acupuncture
- 6 months after procedure, unless done under sterile conditions
- No waiting period if sterile needles were used.
Tattoos, permanent make-up
- 6 months
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- 3 months following a normal delivery and 6 months following delivery by Caesarean Section.
- Mothers who breastfeed can return once breastfeeding has been stopped.
Routine dental work
- 1 day
Complicated dental work
- 3 days
Major surgery work
- 6 months, provided there are no complications.
- If you received blood or blood products you may not donate for 6 months.
- No waiting period for donating blood, but 7 days before donating platelets.
- 3 years after completing treatment.
Travelled to a malaria area
- 4 weeks after returning from malaria area.
Grew up in a malaria area outside South Africa
If the time absent from the area is
- >3 yrs (no visits back to the area) the donor is permitted to donate if they fit all the criteria.
- <3 years (the donor has revisited the malaria area within the 3 years even after having donated); they must wait for another 3 years.
Low iron level
- 3 to 12 months, depending on iron level.
- Hepatitis A (yellow jaundice): One year after recovery. Needs a doctor’s letter to confirm, unless donor had yellow jaundice before age 13.
- Hepatitis B & C: Permanent deferral.
Donors over the age of 65 years
- New donors are not accepted after 65 years of age.
- For their protection, regular donors have up to their 68th birthday to bring a letter from their own doctor stating their medication (if any) and that they are fit and well to donate blood.
- It is recommended that donors over the age of 65 donate no more frequently than 4 times a year.
- In most cases, medication will not disqualify you as a blood donor. Bring your medication (or name of medication) with you and please check with the sister-in-charge of the clinic for clarification.
- As long as the condition is under control (and for blood pressure medication you have been on the same medication for at least 4 weeks), blood donation is usually permitted.
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