Looking to donate blood? This article will walk you through the pre prep, actual process and after care of blood donation in Singapore.
The authorities made a recent appeal and urged donors to come forward to replenish blood stocks. Levels of blood stocks fell critically as measures for the circuit breaker tightened, and a majority of the population worked and stayed at home.
My first donation was over a decade ago, but I decided to go again as soon as I read about the appeal made by the HSA. These 8 steps will save you research time and serve as a quick guide to your blood donation journey in Singapore.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you make your appointment for blood donation. Eat foods that are rich in iron like chicken, turkey, oysters, green leafy vegetables, legumes, beans or lentils, tofu, and even dark chocolate. Drink plenty of water on the day before, get a good night’s sleep and have your meals as per normal. Do remember to wear something that is comfortable and the sleeves are easy to roll up.
2. Make an Appointment
5 to 10 minutes
The blood bank does accept walk in donors but your time will be better utilised if you make a prior appointment. Click the blue button on the blood donation page and fill in the questionnaire. If you are a returning donor then you can proceed directly to make an appointment. If this is your first time donating in Singapore then you will have to go through the eligibility check form to ensure that you are eligible to donate. The general eligibility criteria can be found here.
3. Day of Blood Donation
Proceed to the confirmed location at the day and time of your appointment. Register at the desk and fill out a detailed health assessment questionnaire. The officer will confirm your identity, so you’ll need to provide an official photo identification such as your NRIC, passport or work pass. You will also need to confirm your postal address and your local contact number.
4. Blood Test
A staff will check and record your hemoglobin levels via a pin-prick test to your finger. They will also recheck your weight to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for blood donation. The minimum hemoglobin levels to donate are 12.5 g/dl for females and 13.0 g/dl for males.
5. Medical Screening
5 to 10 minutes
A doctor or nurse will sit down with you and go through the health assessment questionnaire that you filled out earlier. They will ask you about your medical, travel, and social history. At this stage they will also check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
6. Donate Blood
5 to 10 minutes
A nurse will check both your arm to find the right vein. They will clean the site and a local anesthetic will be applied for minimal discomfort. The actual process of donation is very quick. An average adult body has between 4 and 5 liters of blood. Every donation you make is between 350 and 450 ml i.e. 10% to 12% of the total volume of blood in your body. Once the blood is collected, and the needle removed, you will be asked to put pressure on the site. The site will be covered with a bandage that is recommended to be kept on for the next 4 to 6 hours.
7. Rest, Recover and Refresh
10 to 15 minutes
Once you have donated, you will be required to rest briefly. Some refreshments like a drink, snack and dessert will also be provided. It is advised to drink plenty of water after donating blood to avoid a drop in your blood pressure and to replenish lost fluids. If you are of sound health you should not feel unwell after, but If at any time you feel giddy or lightheaded please do make sure the get the attention of a staff.
8. After Care
It is advised to refrain from carrying heavy items and staying away from strenuous exercises for the next 24 hours after you have donated blood.
Q & A
Q How can I check the current blood stock in Singapore?
Blood stock levels are updated regularly at the Singapore Red Cross website
Q Where can I donate blood in Singapore?
You can find a list of the blood banks and community blood drives here
Q Does the process hurt?
A local anaesthetic will be applied to the site for minimal discomfort. You will feel a pinching sensation when the needle is inserted in your arm.
Q How long does it take?
While the donation itself does not take more than 10 minutes, the entire process from registration till rest will take 45 to 55 minutes. During times where the blood bank has made an appeal for blood this process could take longer.
Q Is it safe to donate during the circuit breaker period?
Blood donation is an essential service hence all blood banks are open during the circuit breaker and are implementing safe distancing measures.
Q What is the interval time between donations?
The interval time between normal blood donations is 12 weeks
Q What is the youngest and oldest age for a person to donate?
You need to be at least 16 years old to donate blood. Youths of ages 16 and 17 need to have a signed parental consent form before they are allowed to donate. They must weigh at least 45 kgs and be in sound health. They must also fill out the detailed health assessment questionnaire, give the blood test and medical screening. You can donate blood up to 60 years of age.
Have more questions? I am not a staff or medical personnel but please leave your questions in the comments and I will try and answer them to the best of my knowledge.