Save a life … become a JHAH blood donor

What’s the most needed type of blood? Is it safe to donate during the pandemic? These and other questions answered.

Save a life … become a JHAH blood donor

Every three seconds worldwide, someone needs blood, and nearly 120 million units of blood are donated every year. Regular blood donations from healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available to save lives when people need transfusions due to severe trauma from accidents, complex surgery, cancer treatment, or for regular transfusions for conditions such as sickle cell disease. There is a constant need for blood donations because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use.


We caught up with JHAH Blood Bank manager, Aqeel Al-Otaibi, who shared his expert advice on how to become a JHAH blood donor. 


Why should we donate blood?


Donating blood is a selfless act that can help save lives, one unit of blood can save three adults, or up to six newborn babies!


What is the most needed blood type for donations? 


The most needed blood type for donation is the O blood type, a blood type that is compatible with all blood types, it is followed by blood types A and B.


How can I become a JHAH blood donor?


You can become a donor if you have a valid ID (Saudi Aramco ID, National ID, or passport), are healthy, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds (50 kg). To register to donate blood at JHAH you can call +966-13-870-6770 or +966-13-870-6638 or complete the blood donation sign-up sheet available at JHAH.com/blood-donation.

What is the blood donation process at the JHAH blood bank? 


When you arrive to the JHAH blood bank, you will first answer a questionnaire to assess your health and eligibility. If you are eligible to donate, you will then be directed to sit in a recliner chair and will be given a stress ball to squeeze as 450 ml of blood is drawn from you using new single-use and sterile equipment. After donating blood, you will be asked to relax and have some refreshments to make sure you are feeling well enough to stand up and head home. The blood donation process is conducted and monitored by well-qualified nurses or blood bank technicians and takes approximately 20 minutes.

How much blood can I donate in one session, and how often can I donate? 

You can donate 450 ml in one session, and you can donate every eight weeks.


Will donating blood negatively affect my health? 


Blood donation is safe and there is no risk on healthy donors. It can even burn a few calories as one blood donation session uses up to 650 calories.


Is it safe to donate blood during the COVID-19 outbreak?


It is safe to donate blood during COVID-19 in facilities such as JHAH, where stringent infection prevention measures are in place. 


What are some general blood donation safety and health guidelines?


• Anyone under the age of 17, underweight (weight under 50 kilograms), or those with infectious diseases or anemia cannot donate.

• Donors are advised not to donate blood when they are hungry or dehydrated. You should drink adequate amounts of water and eat a good meal two hours before donation. Drink water after blood donation to replace fluids as blood is mostly water. In addition, consume fruit or drink a cup of fruit juice to prevent blood sugar from dropping. This is healthier than consuming fatty meals after blood donation.

• Eat healthy and well-balanced meals that are rich in protein, iron, and other nutrients and increase your fluid intake before and after blood donation. Good nutrition helps you to restore your blood volume after blood donation. 

• Practice regular activity to strengthen your body and improve blood circulation. Avoid exercise (particularly strenuous exercise) immediately after blood donation.

• Practice deep breathing.

• Avoid alcohol and smoking (active or passive), as they do not help your body make new blood cells.

• Reduce caffeine intake, as caffeine reduces iron absorption, depletes the body’s fluids and may lead to dehydration. It is better to replace caffeinated drinks with decaffeinated ones.

• Do not drive for long distances after donating blood.

• If you experience dizziness during or after donation, inform the blood bank technician, keep your head lower than the donation chair, and drink an adequate amount of water (around two cups). It is important to not leave the donation chair by standing up too quickly. 


Remember, there is no substitute for human blood. Become a #JHAHBloodDonor and donate today. 


Legal Disclaimer: All health and health-related information contained in this Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare company material is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their health and medical conditions with their health care provider. Your health care provider should be consulted regarding matters concerning the medical condition, treatment, and needs of you and your family.


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