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New blood donors - How you can help

PUBLISHED: 09:22 03 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:55 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.

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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