Donating blood is by no means a growing trend: Only five percent of all Swiss people volunteer to donate blood. But there is a great deal of demand – with daily requirements of about 1,000 donations, the largest part of which (19%) is used for cancer treatment.
A healthy adult weighing around 70 kilos has between five and six litres of blood, which equals about eight percent of his or her body weight. However, this ratio may vary depending on the person's age and gender. A blood donation involves 450 millilitres, which comes to around 10 percent of the total blood supply. Persons who weigh less than 50 kilos are not allowed to donate blood because the donated amount may not exceed 13 percent of the total blood supply.
While the actual donation itself lasts only about 10 minutes, you would need to plan around 45 minutes for the whole process. Before the appointment you should eat a full but low-fat meal and drink plenty of fluids. Your first donation will require more time because it involves a consultation with a medical expert, and the actual donation itself may take a bit longer too.
The donated amount is very small compared to the overall blood supply in the body, and your system will compensate for it quickly. Nevertheless, it will take several weeks until new red blood cells have formed in the bone marrow, which is why you should not donate blood more than three or four times a year.
Your body needs 24 hours to compensate the loss of fluids after the donation, and you therefore need to be sure to take in enough fluids and not exert yourself too much during this time. If you feel sufficiently fit after the donation, you can again drive your car after having rested for at least 30 minutes. But be sure not to do any heavy exercise or to go diving for two days afterwards. For other types of sport, you can rely on your best judgement.
Would you like to know how to donate blood in your area? The blood donation app will show you the nearest place where you can donate.
Would you like to donate blood? If so, you need to meet the following criteria:
Read more about blood donations on www.blutspende.ch