How to become a blood donor?

To become a blood donor, you need to have a desire and a small amount of your time.

To save one life is a very humane gesture. Keep in mind that only one bag of donated blood can save up to 3 or 4 lives. This is because a full unit of blood make more products.

You can obtain the necessary information from our website and the media about the location of our team, and you can donate blood!

You can donate blood at a place closest to your residence. Employees can donate blood in the days when our mobile team comes in their workplace.

If it is convenient, you can also visit our transfusiology service in your town where you will be warmly welcomed and attended to.

Also, blood can be donated at the Institute for Transfusion Medicine in Skopje every working day from 7:30 am to 19:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 to 14:00.

To become a blood donor you need to meet the following obligatory requirements:
• To be healthy, at the age ranging from 18 to 65.
• Before donating blood, a questionnaire for a blood donor needs to be completed, regarding health issues, illness history and life habits. It is necessary to give honest answers, since in this way you protect your own health, but also the health of those who receive your blood.
• After completing the questionnaire, the next step is taking blood from a finger trough prickling, so that the level of hemoglobin can be checked.
• Next step is a conversation with a doctor who revises the completed questionnaire. He checks your blood pressure and listens to your heart work. This is a regular check-up because only a healthy person can donate blood.

After the examination the doctor needs to give a consent for blood donation.

• If everything is in order, the act of donating blood follows, performed in the supine position. Triple or quadruple bags can be used for donation, one bag serves for donating blood, in the other two or three bags, blood components are prepared. The donating kit is sterile and disposable, which means that there is not any possibility that you can be infected in any way. Our staff is well trained, so that the sting of the needle will hurt you no more than a sting when blood is taken for performing any other blood analyses. During the donation, you will not feel the needle while it is in your vein. It is the best practice to talk to our staff during this process, or to think of something pleasant for you, and we will do our best to make you feel more comfortable. After donating, stay in a lying position for about 5-10 minute. Afterwards our staff serves you coffee, juice and a light meal.

• After donating blood you can return to your daily duties and work. But remember a few tips:
– You should not smoke cigarettes 30 minutes to 2 hours after the donation of blood, you should not consume alcohol at least 8 to 12 hours, especially if you’re hungry.
– Do not remove the bandage on the site of the sting for 2 hours.
– Do not expose yourself to heavy physical effort in the next 8 hours, those who have some dangerous or specific professions (miners, construction workers, pilots, people who handle firearms, etc.), should refrain from work in the period of 48 hours. The same applies for extreme sports or martial arts.
– If you experience nausea, sit or lie down, it will pass and you will not feel any consequences.
– Drink more liquids during the first 4 hours, or until the end of the day.
– If during the next 3 days you become sick, call our office. It certainly is not a consequence of your donation, however, it can be useful for us in the assessment of the safety of products we have prepared from your blood, i.e. it can indicate that your blood is not suitable for transfusion.
• For each note, positive or negative, please let us know, through the contact link or on our website, or any other way that suits you most.

Frequently asked questions regarding blood donating

1. At what age can I start donating blood?
Any healthy person at the age ranging from 18 to 65 years can donate blood.

2. Should I eat before donating?
Before donation it is recommendable to eat light meals (baget, pretzel ..). If you previously ate a more fatty meal, we will not be able to get quality blood and blood products from the blood that you donated.

3. What is the summary prior donation?
Before donating blood, a questionnaire for a blood donor needs to be completed, regarding health issues, illness history and life habits. By prickling a finger, blood is taken and the level of hemoglobin in the blood is checked. Next step is a conversation with a doctor who checks your blood pressure and listens to your heart work.

4. Do you test your blood?
Yes. Blood is tested for infectious diseases transmitted by blood – hepatitis B and C, syphilis, AIDS. Each unit of blood that was positive in any of these tests is safely destroyed. Apart from this, blood type is determined additionally, as well as Rh factor and antibodies in each unit of blood.

5. What happens next with the results of these tests?
All test results are available to be reviewed only for the donor and the medical people that perform these tests or in any way are responsible for the quality control of the obtained blood components, i.e. it is a matter of absolute anonymity and discretion. Those that have positive tests regarding infectious diseases transmitted by blood, are summoned in writing, to come for a second testing or to be sent in another institution responsible for treatment or further testing .

6. Can donating blood be infectious?
By donating blood you cannot be infected, because the donating kit is sterile and disposable.

7. Does the needle sting hurt?
Our staff is well trained so that needle will not hurt you no more than a sting when taking blood for any other blood analysis.

8. Do you feel the needle while it is in the vein?
The needle is not felt while in the vein.

9. How long is the blood donation process itself?
Donation takes about 5-10 minutes.

10. How much blood is donated?
We donate 450 ml. of blood. We want to state that a person of about 70 kg. has about 5 liters of blood. There is a possibility under strictly determined conditions, to donate smaller quantities of blood, such as 350 ml, which is carried out in bags designed for that purpose.

11. How much time does it take for the donated blood to be compensated?
The liquid part of blood – plasma is compensated for 24 hours. Blood cells (erythrocytes, platelets, leukocytes) are reimbursed gradually over several weeks, depending on the cell type. Therefore the time interval between two blood donations for men is advised to be 3 months and 4 months for women. 12. How will I feel after the donation?
Usually donors do not feel any difficulties or changes during or after donation. Some donors feel even better and much easier than before donation. However insignificant number of donors may experience mild discomfort or nausea. That shouldn’t worry you since such phenomena are transient and without consequences. The doctor will advise you how to proceed in the event of such a reaction.

13. Can I perform my everyday activities after donation?
You can perform your daily activities. However, persons who have difficult and dangerous professions, must be careful over the next 2 days. There are professions that require the blood donor to be absent from work within 12 to 72 hours, depending on the nature of the profession. Remember not to smoke a cigarette at least 30 minutes to 2 hours, alcohol should not be consumed for at least 8-12 hours, especially not on an empty stomach and it is recommendable to consume more water or juice throughout the day.

14. Are there some other types of donations?
Yes, there is a so-called alternative blood donation, such as donation by apheresis, autologous donation, preoperative normovolaemic hemodilution, and intraoperative and postoperative blood salvage. In the procedure called apheresis, donor blood passes through a machine-cell separator to separate blood elements-plasma and various cell types (platelets, leukocytes, erythrocytes), so that for the therapy, only one part of blood that is required is used, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. In the autologous donation (with planned operations) the patient donates blood and blood components for himself. The blood he/she donates before surgery, is kept in the transfusiology service. It is intended only for the patient who gave it, and he/she receives it during the operation. Other types of alternative donation occur in the operating room with those patients, whose indication shows that the same can be implemented.

Proper diet before donating blood

Dear blood donors!
The blood that you donate is a valuable medicine that saves lives of many patients. Quality, blood safety and providing adequate amounts of all blood groups are our priorities and only with your cooperation they can be fully realized. So, please, together let’s solve the problem that we come across in our daily work. And, they are
High fat levels!

Did you know that…?
• Fat excess in your diet is visible in the blood that you donate. Plasma is turbid or has white instead of transparent yellow colour.
• Because of fat excess in the donated blood, sometimes blood testing, which is obligatory with every donation, cannot be done.
• Blood that has excess of fat cannot be used to treat patients, which significantly influences i.e. reduces reserves.

What food contain a lot of fat?
These are fried food, eggs, mayonnaise, bacon, sausages, milk and dairy products (cheese, cream, butter, etc.).

What is a low fat food?
Fruits, vegetables, fish, pasta, boiled food, fresh salads are products low in fat, i.e. are considered to be healthy food and it is suggested that such food is consumed every day.

Tips for eating before blood donation
• Before blood donation, you shouldn’t be hungry; you can choose a meal that contains no fat!
• Avoid fatty foods 12 to 24 hours before donating blood.
• Before and after donation Increase your intake of fluids, particularly water and soft drinks.

Caution: The presence of fat can increase the risk of heart and blood vessels diseases! Therefore, if you have fat in your blood or you may just suspect, before donating you can make a laboratory testing, free of charge, in our Institute for Transfusion Medicine.

We are expecting you!
Keep your health so you can give it away to other!