Thursday, 20 June 2013

Down a Pint, Now What?

On the wholesome topic of blood and blood donation, I realized that I had failed to mention a crucial part of the process – what do you do after you give? The Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services have outlined a few precautions to take post-donation, as you may be feeling a little light-headed and out of sorts. For example, you should be sure to stay well-hydrated, and drink an extra 4 glasses of non-alcoholic beverages. It is important to keep your bandages on for at least 5 hours, and to not do any exercise or heavy lifting for the rest of the day. And of course, if you notice any complications or feel ill for more than 24 hours you should contact your doctor and the blood centre.
And while these are all crucial and important steps to take, the recovery time – in my opinion – can be a little dull; a combination of a light head and a ban on physical activity leaves you with surprisingly little to do. This, of course, isn’t the end of the world – a few lazy hours on the couch never hurt anyone. But along my journey in blood donation, my sister and I (she's my blood-donating buddy) have found a few activities that have proven to be a tad more enjoyable. So here are our best ideas, the top 3 things to do after saving 3 lives.

3. Hit the nearest seafood bar! Every time you donate blood the iron levels in your body decrease, which could lead to anemia or even organ failure. So to prevent this it is important for donors to either take an iron supplement pill, or more enjoyably, eat plenty of foods rich in iron. And what better way to do that than to fill up on oysters, mollusks and shrimp? With a whopping 295% of your daily value of iron in 20 clams (190g), this is the easiest way to attain your iron needs. If you aren’t a seafood fan, liver, spinach, lamb, peanuts, and even dark chocolate are also good choices.

2. Take an afternoon drive – Shotgun! When we drive, we often become so focused on the road that a lot of the beautiful scenery goes unnoticed. So is there anything better than spending the remainder of your day cruising around town, in the passengers’ seat? Operating heavy machinery (aka your car) is a big no-no in the hours after you donate, so you finally have an excuse to relax and just take in the sights. Grab a friend, hit the road, and be sure to make a stop for a Pepsi or smoothie along the way – remember, you gotta stay hydrated!

1. Go grocery shopping! Perhaps this is not the most exciting activity – on an average day. But on blood donating day, anything out on the town is an adventure. You know those little stickers they give you after donating, the ones that say Be nice to me I donated blood today? You wear your sticker proudly, flaunt that blood donation sticker! Enjoy the attention, and also use the opportunity to tell people about your awesome experience donating. You might even inspire someone to go out and get their own snazzy donor sticker.

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