Donate blood and save lives

Today, 14 June, is World Blood Donor Day. In Switzerland, 700 blood donations are needed every day to save the lives of people who have had accidents or are ill. Read this health tip to find out who can donate and how the donation process works.
Blood donations are needed for cancer treatment, for accidents in which a lot of blood has been lost, and when there are birth complications. Hospitals rely on donations because blood cannot be artificially produced. Unfortunately, only 2.5% of the Swiss population regularly donates blood, and because donations cannot be stored for a long time, the reserves can be very scarce depending on the blood group. A whole blood donation (450 ml) takes less than an hour and can save someone's life.

Who can donate?

Generally all healthy people between the ages of 18 and 75 with a body weight of over 50 kilograms can donate blood. You need to complete a questionnaire before each donation, with questions regarding current medication and past travel destinations or medical treatments. Whether or not you're eligible to donate is based on your questionnaire and a conversation with donation staff. If you're interested in donating blood, here is an initial donation check from the Swiss Red Cross. Your blood pressure, pulse and the amount of red blood cells in your blood are measured at the appointment to ensure that you are suitable for a donation.

What should you think about before and after the donation?

Prior to the donation, it's important that you feel fit and healthy and have had enough to drink. You should also have plenty to drink after the donation because it can take up to 24 hours for your body to compensate for the loss of fluids. Right after your donation, make sure you have enough time to remain lying where you are for a few minutes and allow the blood donation staff to take care of you. Light physical activity may be fine depending on how your body feels, but you should avoid anything too strenuous.

How often can you donate blood?

Depending on body size and weight, a person has around five to six litres of blood. The body can easily handle making a donation of 450 millilitres. Even so, you should allow a break of three to four months between donations so that enough blood cells can be replenished in your bone marrow.

A blood donation can make a huge difference. All the information you need on blood donations and donation criteria as well as available dates can be found here

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.