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New blood donors - How you can help

09:22 03 December 2012

Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50kg (seven stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor.

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There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.

When preparing yourself to donate for the first time consider the following points:

• Distraction helps reduce nervousness so bring an MP3 player, book or a friend along with you to the donation session.

• On the day of donation and the evening before ensure you drink plenty of fluids. • Avoid alcohol as this will considerably affect hydration and delay recovery.

• Normal regular meals prior to donating are necessary for maintaining blood sugars and ward off light headedness.

• A good night’s sleep the evening before is beneficial to well being and recovery.

• Wear something which is loose and comfortable. Tight clothing around the arms restricts blood flow and can cause bruises.

The top reasons people are deferred from a session are that they feel unwell, they are taking a course of antibiotics, dental work, cardiovascular conditions, infection within the past two weeks, being on a hospital waiting list or currently undergoing medical tests, travel and piercings/tattoos.

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