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NamBTS Donor Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why must I fill in a donor questionnaire every time I donate?

    It allows us to measure whether you are healthy enough to donate, and gives us a good indication of whether your blood is safe for donation purposes.

  • How often can I donate?

    The waiting period between whole blood donations is 56 days, which means that you can give blood every two months.

  • Can I get AIDS from donating blood?

    Absolutely not because all needles and equipment are new, sterile and disposable. All needles are sealed and used only once.

  • What is an infection window period?

    It is the time from which a person is infected with HIV (or other viruses) until the time when the virus can be detected in blood tests. The danger is that although a person tests “negative” during this period, the virus is still in their blood and can theoretically be passed on to a patient through their blood donation. Due to the new technology we’re using (NAT-testing), which tests for the DNA of the virus, the window period has been reduced to 5 – 11 days.

  • Can I donate during my menstrual period?

    Yes, if you are feeling well.

  • What if my blood iron levels are low?

    You can easily fix this with an iron supplement or a healthy iron-rich diet. If your results reveal that you are anaemic, your results and advice on further treatment will be posted to you.

  • Does blood donation hurt?

    No. The simple finger-prick test and the needle insertion may cause a little bit of discomfort, but it should not be painful during the donation process.

  • How long will my body take to replenish the donated blood?

    The human body replaces the blood volume (plasma) within 24 hours. Red blood cells are replaced by the bone marrow within three to four weeks. The lost iron is replaced after about six to eight weeks.

  • Will I feel “funny” during donation?

    Some people have described a “strange” sensation during donation. There is also a possibility of feeling faint, in which case we stop immediately.

  • How will I feel after the donation?

    Regular donors usually feel fine. Most donors suffer no side-effects, especially if they drink enough fluids in the four hours after donation. A few people do feel light-headed and others occasionally faint. This is completely normal and nothing to be alarmed about.

  • How soon after donation can I carry on with normal activities?

    Normally, immediately after donating. However, it is best to have a snack and drink plenty of fluids during the four hours after you've donated. Also, don’t do any heavy exercise or lifting after donation and reduce regular exercise for a few days after donation.

  • Will I be contacted if my blood tests are abnormal?

    Yes, we will contact you with confidential results if abnormal test results appear.

  • When will I know what my blood type is?

    When we send you your donor card (about your second blood donation), we’ll also include written confirmation of your blood type, and it will be displayed on your donor card.

  • If I’m a donor and I need blood, will I get it free of charge?

    No. All recipients must submit their accounts to their medical aid. However, in the case of a regular donor with no medical aid, we’ll enter into negotiation about the account.