Fainting at time of or after blood donation

Currently due to Covid-19 pandemic we are under lockdown which is the need of the hour. As we are stuck in the house we are not able to go out. Even blood banks are getting less blood donations as people are not visiting them. Some people feel fainting after or at the time of the blood donation.

Here we will discuss why there is fainting at time of or after blood donation. Here we will see how you can prevent it.

How does fainting at time of or after blood donation presents?

Fainting at the time of or after blood donation presents at or after blood donation. It usually presents as follows

  • You may feel that you are sweating excessively. Even if there is air conditioning and fans working you will still feel your face and forehead sweat. You will feel the seat on your body and may realise that your clothes are wet.
  • You may feel light headedness. It is  generally a dizzy feeling. You feel that the surroundings are moving.
  • You may notice decreased acuity of your vision. The objects around you may look blurry. The lights in your room will look blurry surrounded by darkness. 
  • You may see colourful drops floating and appearing and disappearing in front of your eyes.
  • There is anxiety and fear but you do not know the cause of the same.
  • You may want to sit in a squatting position or at least not want to stand.
  • Loss of power is another feeling at the time of this attack. You are so sick that you can not even stand.
  • You may fall on the ground as you are not able to stand.
  • Loss of consciousness is the ultimate result if the corrective steps are not taken.

What are observations at this time of fainting?

Above all are the symptoms that you first hand experience at the time of the fainting. Now we will see what an observer or your nurse or doctor can experience the findings on a patient who is fainting.

  • Looking at your wet forehead, face and skin your nurse or doctor will come to know that you are fainting.
  • Additionally they will see you in stupor disoriented and confused condition.
  • They may see you anxious and afraid during the process.
  • Your peripheral pulse may be weak and not palpable by your doctor or nurse.
  • Your blood pressure may be less sometimes less than 90/60 mm of Hg indicating you have severe hypotension.
  • They may see you sitting or falling down on the ground.

Can it affect first time donors?

Yes fainting at the time of or after blood donation can occur with a first time donor. It is not the truth that it will occur only with first time donors.

Even experienced blood donors may face this condition as likely as first time donors.

What are conditions causing fainting at time of or after blood donation?

Though fainting can occur at any time you donate blood. There are some conditions that may increase the possibility of fainting episodes with blood donations.

Some of these conditions are as follows:

  • Hunger: If you are donating blood empty stomach or you have not eaten during 2-3 hrs before donating blood you may feel fainting.
  • Anxiety: If you are very much anxious about the process of blood donation and the environment you are donating blood, you may experience a fainting episode.
  • Fear: If you are afraid of needles and procedure, you may feel fainting.
  • Site of blood: Some people are so sensitive that they feel fainting even when they see blood.
  • Hot and warm environment: You may feel uncomfortable if the environment you are donating blood to is too warm or too hot humid.
  • Stress: If you are under stress when donating blood there is increased likelihood that you experience fainting.
  • Lack of sleep: If you did not have proper sleep on previous night you may feel fainting.
  • Tiredness: Fainting may occur if you are tired at the time of donating blood.
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs: If you have taken some drugs that can lower blood pressure fainting may occur with you.
  • Pain: If the blood collection procedure is very painful you may faint.
  • Standing for a long time: If you are standing for a very long time after blood donation you may faint.
  • Standing too quickly: If you stand too quickly after blood donation you may feel fainting and lightheadedness.
  • Dehydration: If you are dehydrated or not adequately hydrated at the time of blood donation, you may faint.

What to do if someone faints at time of or after blood donation?

If you see someone fainting at the time of or after blood donation, your doctor or nurse will suggest the following remedy. Usually this fainting is a type of syncope and a transient condition.

  • You should lie supine flat condition preferably legs slightly above head.
  • You should not stand too quickly after blood donation.
  • Blood donation preferably be done in supine position.
  • Minimize or avoid using latex gloves to those who are allergic to them.
  • The person experiencing fainting should drink as much as water he/she can. A person experiencing fainting should drink 2 litres of water.
  • The person fainting should flex the legs or do a squatting position as comfortable.
  • Start fan or air condition whichever is available.
  • The person should do stretching exercises.
  • Monitor blood pressure of the fainting person.
  • If needed and a person not drinking water adequately IV fluid bolus of normal saline or lactated ringer should be given.
  • Check a random blood sugar and correct it with 25% dextrose if needed.
  • The fainting person should eat something containing salt and sugar.
  • You should not do strenuous work for the next 8 hours at least.
  • The person who donated blood should not go walking in a hot environment.

How to prevent fainting at time of or after blood donation?

The fainting episodes at the time of or after blood donation can be prevented with the following measures:

  • The person donating blood should have eaten his food in the previous 2-3 hours.
  • The process of blood collection should be done in a comfortable environment with air conditioning or fans switched on.
  • The process of blood collection should be adequately explained to the donor.
  • The donor should keep talking with staff and friends around.
  • Go with your friends and family for the blood donation.
  • The blood donor should have slept for adequate hours the day before blood donation.
  • The person doing blood donation should be adequately hydrated and should drink an adequate amount of water before blood donation.
  • The person who has done blood donation should not stand quickly after blood donation.
  • The person who is a blood donor should not stand for long hours after blood donation.
  • Make adequate facility of blood donation so that donors should not stand in long que for donation.
  • The person should be seated comfortably before blood donation.
  • The puncturing vein should be done in a less painful manner so that the donor should not suffer the pain of blood donation.
  • Skillful staff should be available at the facility so that they can manage the complications.
  • Those who are diabetic and on any blood pressure lowering agents should refrain from blood donation.
  • You should not donate blood when you are under stress or anxiety and tired.
  • The person after blood donation should be offered a small snack in the form of a cup of tea and biscuits or a fruity and water to drink.

Does fainting at time of or after blood donation have any serious consequences?

No, absolutely not. Fainting at or after blood donation is quite a common condition. It is usually transient in nature. It generally does not have any long term consequences.

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