• Who needs blood?
Blood transfusions are used for Thalassemia patients, cancer patients, car accident victims, haemophilia, patients of low platelets count, and complications during childbirth, chronic renal failure patient, liver cirrhosis and liver failure patients, patients of bone marrow depression.
• Who is eligible to donate?
Generally, individuals with good health between the age of 18 – 60, weigh more than 50 kgs and with haemoglobin count between 13 – 17.5 for men and 12 – 16.5 for women.
• What are some of the common reasons that people can’t donate?
People who are anemic, have low or high blood pressure, or have had recent dental work, or surgical operation are unable to donate and others.
• Is donating blood safe?
Donating blood is an absolutely safe process. A brand new, sterile, disposable needle is used for each blood donation. Once used, the needle is discarded. There is no way the donor may get infected during the donation process.
Furthermore, the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) partners with the NBTC and according to the SRC Country Representative in Egypt, “The NBTC uses the same technology as the SRC and has extremely high standards; it’s all very safe.”
• Is donating blood healthy?
Blood donation rejuvenates bone marrow, which is the only responsible factor for blood cells composition in the body. It then takes about 20 days for new blood cells to form, whereas the usual blood renewal cycle is normally every 120 days. This means blood donors replenish their blood 6 times faster than a non-donor. Moreover, new blood cells are more active in transferring oxygen to body organs, which leads to increased activity and vitality.
• Does the needle hurt the entire time?
No. There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain whatsoever during the rest of the donation.
• What is my blood tested for?
All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis before it can be released to patients.
• What is the donation process?
The entire process of blood donation will only take up to 30 minutes starting from registering your name, filling out the donor questionnaire, mini-physical check on haemoglobin and blood pressure levels then blood collection which only takes 10 minutes and concludes with relaxing and enjoying your juice before you are able to return to normal activities.
• How often can blood be donated?
Whole Blood can be donated every 3 months for men and every 4 months for women. In case of Apheresis which is a special kind of blood donation that allows the donor to give specific blood components like platelets and plasma you can donate using Apheresis every 14 days.
• How much blood is taken?
• Approximately 450±10% ml of blood will be collected in a standard issued blood bag, which is about 10% of your whole blood volume. Our body replaces the blood volume (plasma) within 24 hours. Red blood cells are replaced by the bone marrow into the circulatory system within about 3-4 weeks, while the lost iron is replaced over approximately 6-8 weeks.
• How can my blood save up to 3 lives?
Each blood bag can save up to 3 lives as it can be used in three different forms: red blood cell, platelets and plasma. Typically, two or three of these are produced from a bag of donated whole blood – hence each donation can help save up to three lives
• How long until my blood is used?
Each component separated from a whole blood bag lasts for different periods of time. That is why it is extremely important to become a regular donor, to ensure sufficient safe blood whenever needed regardless of the component.
• Where is donated blood sent?
After the donation the blood is collected, processed and tested by NBTS. The aim of NBTS is to satisfy the needs of donors, patients and clinicians by providing safeand sufficient, blood products and related services. NBTS is located in Giza and supervises a network of 23 Regional Blood Transfusion Centers (RBTCs) across Egypt. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged NBTS as a certified trainer and gave it the “Center of Excellence Award”.
• Can I donate during my menstrual period?
Yes, if you are feeling well
• How soon after donating can I participate in sport?
After donation, it’s best to have a snack and drink plenty of fluids over the next four hours. You can then resume routine sporting or training activity. It is advisable not to donate blood three to four weeks before participating in a major sporting event such as a marathon, or a competitive football match, where you intend to push yourself to the limit of your ability.
• Is there a substitute for blood?
There is no substitute for blood. When the patient’s haemoglobin level, platelet level, or coagulation factor level falls below a critical point, blood transfusion is the only option.
Patients rely on voluntary blood donors to provide red blood cells, platelets and clotting factors, to meet their medical needs.
Blood is made up of different components and each component has its own important function. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the tissues and remove carbon dioxide.
The main function of platelets and the coagulation factors is to prevent and stop bleeding. Each one of these blood components has an important role, and any one of these components may be used in the treatment of patients with certain medical conditions.
In cases of trauma or during surgical operations, the volume of blood which is lost by the patient may initially be replaced with synthetic solutions (crystalloid or colloid solutions) such as normal saline. These solutions are not recognized as “blood substitutes” but are blood volume expanders. They do not carry oxygen. They are frequently used in the initial treatment of patients, for example in the ambulance or in the operating theatre, while blood is being obtained from the blood bank.
• Will blood trading occur?
The issuing department in NBTC is responsible for issuing the blood and its components to the patients whether:
- Free for patients treated at the expense of the state within public hospitals or those treated in its free departments.
- Subsidized price from MoH for patients in economic departments or private hospitals. This price doesn’t represent blood cost but it represents a very small part of the quality test costs performed on the blood bag.
• What kind of care is needed for blood donors before donating blood?
- Sleep well & eat at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluid before you donate blood. Have a snack at least 2 hours before you donate, but do not eat too much right before the donation
- Avoid taking aspirin or aspirin-like anti-inflammatory medication in the 72 hours prior to your donation, because aspirin inhibits the function of blood platelets. If you have taken aspirin within this period, please tell the medical staff to ensure that your blood platelet component will not be transfused to a patient but the other components can still be used.
- Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow
- Bring a List of Medications You Are Taking as we will need to know about any prescription and/or over the counter medications that may be in your system.
• What kind of care is needed for blood donors after donating blood?
- Drink an immense amount of liquids within the 4 hours following the blood donation and continue to drink water throughout the day of your donation.
- Leave the bandage on the syringe place for 6 – 12 hours.
- Avoid smoking for 2 hours if possible.
- Avoid any strenuous effort for 24 hours (Avoid Heavy Lifting or Exercise).
- Avoid standing in direct sunlight and/or heat for 2 hours.
- Feeling faint or fatigued after donating blood is uncommon. Most donors feel fine before and after donating, but a small number of people may have a lightheaded or dizzy feeling. If you feel faint, stop what you are doing, lie down, and raise your feet until the feeling passes and you feel well enough to safely resume activities. And remember to enjoy the feeling of knowing you have helped save lives!
• Why do you ask so many questions before I donate blood?
Actually we do so because our primary concern is that giving blood won’t affect your health in any way. We also need to make sure that your blood is safe, as it will be received by other patients. Therefore, any information like medical conditions, even colds, can all affect your suitability, although usually it’s just temporary.
We do need your cooperation in answering these questions in a correct way. Of course all the data you will mention in the application will be treated in complete confidentiality.
• What Is Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessel walls. When you have high blood pressure, the pressure in your arteries is elevated. When untreated, it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so it is often called the “silent killer.” The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to get it checked regularly. The NBTC checks your blood pressure before every donation.
• What is hemoglobin?
The NBTC checks your hemoglobin level before every blood donation to ensure it is safe for you to give blood. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that contains iron. You must have a hemoglobin level of at least 12 gm/dl for females & 13 gm/dl for males to donate blood for another person. A low hemoglobin level may reduce your body’s oxygen carrying capacity and may make you feel tired and irritable. If your hemoglobin is too low, you may not be able to donate blood that day. This does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy; you just don’t have a high enough hemoglobin level to share your red cells that day. The medical term for low hemoglobin is anemia. Hemoglobin levels can be maintained through proper diet of iron-rich foods and/or iron supplements.
• How often can I give blood?
Male donors can donate every 90 days, while female donors can donate every 120 days.
• Would most people be honest about their past behaviour?
The safety of the donor himself starts by answering the questions in an honest way. Even if the donor answers all the questions truthfully, there are additional procedures done later to ensure that the blood is safe and doesn’t have any transmissible diseases. However the antibodies may take a few weeks to develop after infection with the virus. If you were recently infected, you might have a negative test result, yet be able to infect the recipient of your donation. That is why you must not give blood if you are at risk of getting any infectious diseases.
• How can I make an appointment or find out more information?
For more information concerning blood donation and transfusion in Egypt, please check the official site of NBTS: http://nbts.gov.eg
For general information on blood donation, please check the official website of the World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/bloodsafety/voluntary_donation/e
• When will I receive my blood analysis result?
All information collected from the donor questionnaire to the blood analysis result are treated with complete confidentiality by the NBTS. Donors will receive a copy of their blood analysis result when it is completed in a sealed envelope.