If you’re looking to partake in an act of kindness and giving, one of the most powerful ways to do so comes in the simple form of donating blood. Donating blood saves countless of lives. While only 10% of eligible donors actually donate, it’s important to note that a single donation can help 3 or more people. Little Steps has the breakdown of how and where to donate blood here!
Donating blood is giving someone the gift of life. Because blood can only be stored for a limited amount of time before use, there is a perpetual need for a regular blood supply, which is why regular donations are crucial. Transfusions are needed for anyone from women with complications in pregnancy, children with anemia, people suffering from traumas, or those with life-long conditions that require regular transfusions.
In order to qualify as a blood donor in Hong Kong, you must be in good health, weigh at least 41kgs, and be between the ages of 16 and 66 years. Donors between the ages of 16-17 years must have parental consent for their first time donation. Donors are also screened with a health history questionnaire, as well as haemoglobin and blood pressure checks. Those older than 66 years, who have completed a donation in the last 2 years, can still give whole blood donations up to their 76th birthday.
The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion service provides an online platform where eligible donors can sign up to become a blood donor and schedule an appointment. For first-time users, you’ll need to create a quick profile on the system and then you will be able to book an appointment by selecting a donor center and a date and time within 2-30 days of booking.
Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion E-Donor System, www.blooddonor.org.hk
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, you’ll be happy to know that there is a speedier way to ascertain your eligibility as a donor. An online pre-eligibility test is made available on Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion’s website. Within 11 questions and under 5 minutes, you’ll find out if you are pre-eligible to be a blood donor.
Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion’s Online Eligibility Test, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/donation-test
A relatively straight-forward and simple process – once at the donor center, you will have to present your Hong Kong ID card. After filling out the registration form, you will receive a quick prick for the haemoglobin test followed by a health screening, temperature check, and blood pressure check. Local anaesthetics are applied and then a sterilized, one-time use needle is used for the puncture. Blood samples are taken for testing, and then blood will be drawn for donation for about 7-12 minutes. From start to finish, the entire process takes about a quick hour of your time.
Donation Procedure, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/donation-procedure
After the blood donation, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids over the next 12 hours and to avoid any strenuous exercises or heavy lifting to prevent bruising at the puncture site. Also, it is suggested to increase your intake of iron-rich food as well as Vitamin C which aids in iron absorption and avoid drinking tea or coffee during meal times which may hinder your iron absorption.
Post Donation Tips, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/post-donation-advice
To make things more convenient for parents on the go, the HK Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service has several donor centers throughout Hong Kong, as well as a mobile donation vehicle that changes locations from time to time. Centers can be found in Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, Yuen Long, Sha Tin, Central, West Kowloon, as well as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Campus, amongst others.
Where To Donate, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/loc-all
In keeping with the times, a mobile app, “HK Blood” has been developed by the HK Red Cross Blood Transfusion service to provide users with a quicker way to look up their donation history, book the next donation appointment, search for locations on where to donate, as well as self-evaluate your eligibility prior to donations. The app has a ton of other great features to explore and can be downloaded on iPhones, iPads as well as Androids.
HK Blood Mobile App, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/hkblood
Along with blood donations, other services include an iron supplement program in which nurses provide donors with a free oral iron supplement in order to enhance your body’s iron absorption after a donation. Another helpful service for those undergoing elective surgery is the autologous transfusion, meaning the donation of one’s own blood can be reserved for their own use at a scheduled operation.
Other Services, www5.ha.org.hk/rcbts/service
The four major blood groups are A, B, AB, and O. In Hong Kong, the most common is type O, while A and B make up about 26% of the population, and only 7% are type AB. Your blood group refers to which types of antigens you have. Those with blood types O are typically referred to as the “universal donor” whereas type AB is the “universal recipient”. If you don’t know your blood type, you can learn it when donating blood, as well, as first-time blood donors will receive a memorial badge indicating their blood type.