WHO global health days

Quiz: How much do you know about blood donation?

Take the test to find out the answers.

1 I can donate blood at any age.

The age at which people are eligible to donate varies between countries but it is commonly between 17-65 years old. Some countries accept donations from people from the age of 16 and extend the upper age limit beyond 65 years. However, you will be accepted as a blood donor only if you are fit and healthy.

2 When I donate blood, I am at risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C.

Blood donation is safe. Your health and well-being are very important to the blood supply service. The needle and blood bag come in a sterile pack and it is not reused. Instruments used during blood collection are also sterile and clean and will not come in contact with other blood donors.

3 The amount/volume of blood collected at one time is:

In most countries, the volume taken is 450 millilitres, less than 10% of an adult’s total blood volume (on average, an adult has 4.5 - 5 litres of blood). In some countries a smaller volume of blood is taken. The lost fluid is replaced by the body within 36 hours.

4 How often/regularly can I donate blood?

In most countries, individuals can safely give blood every 4 months. There is a constant need for a regular supply of blood because blood and its components can be stored only for a limited period of time.

5 Before giving blood, I should:

Most countries recommend that donors should maintain their usual food and fluid intake before donation but should avoid heavy or fatty meals which may result in lipaemic donation that may need to be discarded. An intake of 500 mls of drinking water just before donation reduces the risk of vasovagal reaction.

6 The needle prick sensation I will experience during blood collection is very painful.

Just squeeze the inside of your elbow tightly and you will get an idea of what the needle prick feels like. All you feel is a gentle pressure and a momentary “pin-prick” sensation. Blood donation is safe, any discomfort or problem during or after donating is uncommon.

7 The safest blood for transfusion comes from:

An adequate supply of safe blood can only be assured through regular donations from voluntary, unpaid donors. These donors are the safest group of donors. The prevalence of blood borne infections is lower in this group than in family/replacement or paid donors.