Did you know, all employees of Lux Everyday are entitled to time off to donate blood? Here, Orlaith breaks down our ‘Break to Donate’ Policy, and why you should consider donating…
What is the ‘Break to Donate’ Policy?
We’re proud to help support Red Cross gather critical blood supplies by offering a 90-minute lunch break/late start/early finish for every single one of our employees (maximum of once every 12 weeks). This is our Break to Donate Policy. Any of our employees that want to donate blood can do so during work time. We can also register with our Lux Group Red25 group on the Red Cross site. That way, we can tally how many lives we’ve saved and donations the whole team has made. I am a frequent donor to the Red Cross. Plus, seeing as I can avail of the Break to Donate Policy, I can take time out of my work day and donate easily to either of the two donation centres nearby to our office.
Should I Donate?
If you can, you should. It is simple, straightforward, takes minutes, and literally saves lives.
What is Your Blood Type?
I also have a relatively rare blood type O negative, which is the Universal Donor blood type. Everyone with any blood type can receive O Neg blood safely, but people with O Neg blood can only receive O Neg blood without complications. Because of this, it is often a highly sought after blood type. But all blood types are needed and welcomed at blood banks. In my donation history, I have donated whole blood and plasma.
What’s Involved When You Donate Blood?
Before any blood donation, you will have to fill out a questionnaire – whether it’s your first donation or fiftieth. You will be asked questions about your sexual history, health, etc. This is to ensure that it is safe for you to donate and for patients to receive your blood. I can understand that some people would be offended by some of the questions, but the intention of this questionnaire is not to hurt feelings, it’s to save lives.
After the questionnaire, you will be brought into a private interview room with a staff nurse or doctor. They will confirm your answers with you, check your haemoglobin levels with a pinprick test (don’t worry it doesn’t really hurt, literally a little prick on your finger), and your blood pressure.
Afterwards, you will be brought to a chair and have the needle inserted in the crook of your elbow. If you have tiny veins like mine, this can be tricky. It’s different for everyone because everyone’s body is different. The nurses will test your blood before attaching the tube to a blood bag for any harmful diseases for your own benefit and the patient who could receive the blood.
What’s Involved in a Whole Blood Donation?
Whole blood donation is very straightforward. Once the blood bag is attached, you squeeze on a stress ball and lie there for the 5-7 minutes while your blood is collected. The blood bag is kept on a tilting machine because if the blood were to stay still it would congeal.
What’s Involved in a Plasma Donation?
A plasma donation takes longer than a whole blood donation. Approximately 45 minutes. Plasma is the substance that your blood cells – platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells – are suspended in. It is used for a number of treatments, including cancer treatments Anti-D injections. During a plasma donation, your blood separated by Apheresis. Instead of hooking you up to blood bag and tilting machine, your blood is collected in a special machine. The machine separates the blood cells out from the plasma. After that, it returns the rest of your blood to you through the same needle along with a saline solution to replace the plasma. The saline drip is super cold by the way.
Fun fact, everyone’s plasma looks a little different. If you have a high-fat diet there will be a creamy froth substance on the top, if you take birth control your plasma will be bright green. It can naturally be any colour from pale yellow to orange. It can be a great insight into what’s really going on in your body. Because your main blood cells return to your body, you can donate plasma every two weeks.
What Happens After You Donate?
After your very generous donation, you can help yourself to whatever you want in their kitchenette – milkshakes, these amazing cookies, fruit, toast, soup, tea, coffee, juice, and most importantly water. You can just load up on your favourites and hang out for a while until you feel ready to go. A few days later you will receive a text declaring where your blood has gone.
Share your own experiences below and if you want to make a life-saving donation, head over to Red Cross website.