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Frequently Asked Questions

Give Blood
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  • Can I give blood after my vacation?

    Unfortunately, you may (temporarily) not give blood after visiting certain countries. Make sure to think of which countries you have visited recently, and if necessary take the online donor test to check whether you may donate. You can also call the donor information line: 0800 - 5115 (free).

  • Can I give blood if I feel like I have the flu?

    No, you cannot give blood if you feel like you have the flu. The risk of complaints such as dizziness or even fainting after donation is increased in this case. For a weak patient who receives the blood, a cold virus can represent a serious threat. Once you feel better again, we ask that you wait for two weeks to give blood, to make sure you are no longer contagious.

    Take the donor test on our website before every blood donation. This will prevent you from visiting the blood band for nothing.

  • Can children come into the screening room?

    You need to answer all questions on the questionnaire honestly. There are a number of sensitive questions on the questionnaire. You may only realise you have to answer a risk question with 'yes' when you fill out the form, but you may not dare to do so in the presence of another person. That is why persons older than 6 may not enter the screening room with you. Even if they say there are no secrets between you.

  • Does giving blood affect blood pressure?

    When you have given blood, your blood pressure drops a very small amount, but returns to previous levels and stabilises quickly. Giving blood is not a treatment for high blood pressure.

  • Donating blood and medication use?

    Do you want to give blood, and have you recently started using (new) medication?

    Tell us when you come to donate, or call our donor information hotline (0800-5115) before you visit to check if you may give blood.

  • What should I wear when donating?

    If you are going to donate blood, please do not wear a shirt or sweater with tight sleeves to make it easier to roll them up to reach the vein.

  • How long can blood be stored?

    The shelf life differs per blood component:

    • Platelets can be stored for five days.
    • Red blood cells can be stored for 35 days.
    • Plasma is frozen and can be stored for two years or longer.
  • How long does it take to give blood?

    The blood donation will take not longer than 15 minutes. Along with completing the questionnaire, the screening and rest period after donation, you should plan on a visit to the blood bank taking 45 to 60 minutes. A plasma donation takes about 1 to 1.5 hours.

    Times depend on how busy it is at the blood bank. In general, the blood bank is less busy during the day than in the evenings.

  • How long does the body need to replace the collected blood?

    Our body needs one day to replace the fluid (plasma) and white blood cells lost. This process takes longer for the red blood cells; after six to eight weeks, our body has replaced the collected cells.

  • How many blood types are there?

    Over 300, but in daily practice, the most important are the blood types A, B, AB, O and the Rhesus D (RhD) factor. The combination of these two systems results in 8 blood types: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and O-.

  • How much blood can I donate each time?

    During a donation, you give half a litre of blood and three tubes for testing. The collection and processing system at the blood bank is tailored for collecting half a litre, making it impossible to deviate from this amount.

  • How often can I give blood?

    Men can give blood a maximum of five times per year, women three times per year. How often you give blood will depend on your blood type.

    Blood type 0 negative is used relatively often in hospitals. That is because blood with this blood type can be given to any patient in emergencies. Blood donors with this blood type are sometimes invited to donate more often.

    When possible, we prefer to give patients blood of their own blood type. This means a patient with blood type AB positive will be given blood from an AB positive blood donor. That is why the Blood Bank needs all blood types.

  • If I have a rare blood type, will I be invited to donate less frequently?

    Donors with blood type A and AB are invited to donate slightly less often. Blood cells have a limited shelf life. That is why Sanquin does not keep a large supply of less common blood types (B and AB).

    There may be a threatening shortage under certain circumstances. In such cases, the ability to call in additional donors is important.

    A donor with blood type B or AB who would like to donate regularly can register as a plasma donor. Plasma has a long shelf life.

  • What is blood used for?

    The most important use for blood is to help people who have lost a great deal of blood during major surgery or an accident. Patients also need blood products if they have a disease that affects the blood or the creation of blood cells, such as leukaemia.

  • What is my blood tested for?

    Safety is paramount for Sanquin Blood Supply, for both donors and patients.
    All of the donated blood is tested for 4 infectious diseases than can be transmitted via blood:

    • HIV
    • Hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis C
    • Syphilis

    The blood of new donors is also tested for HTLV-I/II. The pathogens that cause these five diseases can remain present in blood for a long time, sometimes for life. If you have a virus or a bacteria in your blood, you carry the disease. You may not notice this at all, but your blood is contaminated.

    If we discover you are carrying one of these five infectious diseases, we will always inform you.

  • Which blood type do I get from my parents?

    Look at the chart below to see what blood type the children of two parents can have, and which ones they cannot. This chart applies to the ABO blood type system.

    * Under special circumstances, another blood type may be possible.

    The following is true for the Rhesus D factor. If both parents are negative, the child is also RhD negative. If one or both parents are RhD positive, the child may be both positive and negative.

  • Which blood type is the most common?

    The most common blood types in the Dutch population are O (47%) and A (42%), and far less common are B (8%) and AB (3%). Additionally, 85% is Rhesus D positive and 15% is Rhesus D negative. This means many donors are A+ or O+, and few are B- or AB-.

  • Why are other people not allowed into the screening room?

    You need to answer all questions on the questionnaire honestly. There are a number of sensitive questions on the questionnaire. You may only realise you have to answer a risk question with 'yes' when you fill out the form, but you may not dare to do so in the presence of another person (family member or friend). This can lead to an uncomfortable situation, and entail a large risk for the recipient of the blood. Sanquin wants to prevent this from happening at all costs. That is why children older than 6 years may not enter the screening room with you. Partners and parents may also not enter the screening room for the same reason, even if they state they have no secrets from each other.

  • Why do I have to fill out a questionnaire each time?

    Using the questionnaire and the questions asked by Sanquin staff, it is possible to determine whether your current health status allows you to give blood. This is in the interest of both the donor and the recipient. Answering these questions correctly is important for the safety for the blood transfusion.

Last edited on: 21 December 2016

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