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Old 07.08.2020, 10:35
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Donating blood

Do you donate blood? After 35 years, I spontaneously decided to donate blood again. I was shopping and saw the blood donating trailer outside the mall so, with some spare time on my hands, I went for it.

In these times of Corona, services offer fewer beds to allow more distance. However, the staff were truly helpful and generous. I walked in and they asked me about my history and if I had eaten or drunk anything in the past few hours. I said I hadn't so they immediately gave me my choice of drinks. Then I was given a form to fill out with a short consultation afterwards. Then they took a blood sample to measure my blood amount and finally they took my blood pressure. Everything was up to par.

After waiting a moment, I was guided to one of their beds and the procedure began. The nurses were attentative, friendly and supportive. Unfortunately, due to a rapid drop in blood pressure, we had to stop the process midway and concentrate on keeping me from fainting. They did a fantastic job and after 20 minutes, I was up on my feet again. Before leaving, everyone was asked to have a sandwich or pastry along with more drinks to prevent fatigue and dizziness.

I now know donating blood is sadly not a viable option for me BUT I implore all of you to donate blood if you don't do so already. Your gift of blood may help save lives and it also gives you a chance to talk to the nursing staff, have your blood checked and you even get a gift of either jam, chocolate or wine.

Please note you are not permitted to give blood if you've had a trip to England (between 1980–1996 for a total of 6 months) or a blood transfusion since 1980

For more info in English: https://www.iblutspende.ch//fileadmi...der_EN_web.pdf
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Old 07.08.2020, 10:57
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Re: Donating blood

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Please note you are not permitted to give blood if you've had a trip to England (between 1980–1996 for a total of 6 months)
Bravo. Olygirl, and thanks for sharing.

I suppose the British issue is thanks to the mad cow disease?
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Old 07.08.2020, 10:59
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Re: Donating blood

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I suppose the British issue is thanks to the mad cow disease?

It is, yes
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:01
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Re: Donating blood

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Please note you are not permitted to give blood if you've had a trip to England (between 1980–1996 for a total of 6 months) or a blood transfusion since 1980
I’m ruled out on both counts Grew up in U.K. and had blood transfusion in Switzerland (which rules me out of donating in U.K. too). Don’t get the blood transfusion rule. I hope they checked the blood they gave me was safe (2013) so why would me donating afterwards be an issue??
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:01
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Re: Donating blood

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Bravo. Olygirl, and thanks for sharing.

I suppose the British issue is thanks to the mad cow disease?
I thought she was called the milk snatcher Thatcher?
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:01
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Re: Donating blood

I think a lot of us would gladly do it, but being British, cannot.

It's a shame there isn't a good test for CJD that would enable us to donate.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:06
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Re: Donating blood

Interesting information. Thanks. I've tried to donate blood on several occasions, but always got turned down. First was because I'd had glandular fever as a child. I was told I had to wait 10 years. After 15 years I saw a blood donor van so went in, and again they refused saying it's now 20 years.

Now due to extensive foreign travel and vaccinations I no longer qualify but would endorse the recommendation to donate if you're eligible.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:06
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Re: Donating blood

The ‘British’ issue is the recommendation of the WHO and is applied in many countries other than Switzerland. My wife has O negative, which is highly desired, but is still banned for the British Issue.

I used to be a regular donor, but my surgery in 2008, with a transfusion, put a stop to that.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:08
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Re: Donating blood

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After waiting a moment, I was guided to one of their beds and the procedure began. The nurses were attentative, friendly and supportive. Unfortunately, due to a rapid drop in blood pressure, we had to stop the process midway and concentrate on keeping me from fainting. They did a fantastic job and after 20 minutes, I was up on my feet again. Before leaving, everyone was asked to have a sandwich or pastry along with more drinks to prevent fatigue and dizziness.
I don't donate blood exactly from this reason but I was asked repeatedly by a Swiss friend who donates at least 2 times per year. It was difficult for her to understand why is that not a possibility for me.

I admire people who do that and think this is a very Swiss thing, before moving to CH I rarely though of it tbh, a lot to learn from here.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:20
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Re: Donating blood

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The ‘British’ issue is the recommendation of the WHO and is applied in many countries other than Switzerland. My wife has O negative, which is highly desired, but is still banned for the British Issue.
Same for me, I am O neg and would gladly donate if only it wasn’t for the British issue.

My dad was B neg which is actually quite rare and he donated all his adult life. I still have all his medals and certificates.
He would sometimes get called in outside the normal six monthly donations if they had an urgent need.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:54
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Re: Donating blood

To be perfectly honest, I've always been secretly relieved that my British residence over those years means that I can't give blood here. The reason? I hate needles, have even been know, on more that one occasion, to fall down in a faint [1] as a reaction to injections.

As a B Neg, I know my blood type is relatively rare and would be in demand, and I'm sure that if I were allowed, I'd feel pressured into donating, even though I'd hate it, but playing the British card is a failsafe, both for my own conscience and if anyone ever asks.

FWIW I've had countless injections and surgeries over the years, including receiving blood and having daily blood tests at times, but if anything it's more of the reason that I hate needles than a factor in being able to deal with them.


[1] I once went to A&E to get a cut stitched up, had tetanus and penicillin jabs, then ten minutes later collapsed while waiting in line at the counter to make a follow-up appointment. I woke up on a gurney waiting for an X-ray on my suspected fractured jaw It wasn't broken, fortunately.
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Old 07.08.2020, 11:57
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Re: Donating blood

Can't donate either. You'd think a 34-40 year gap would be long enough to allow Brits to donate. Haven't lived in the UK for over 20 years. Isn't there some kind of test they could do to prove you're not a mad cow?
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Old 07.08.2020, 12:28
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Re: Donating blood

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Can't donate either. You'd think a 34-40 year gap would be long enough to allow Brits to donate. Haven't lived in the UK for over 20 years. Isn't there some kind of test they could do to prove you're not a mad cow?
Unfortunately not. It isn't a virus or a bacteria; it involves something called prions which cannot be detected until your brain starts to fall apart.

Seeing as the Swiss had a similar problem with CJ you would have thought they would be banned elsewhere or at least they would open the doors to the Brits.
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Old 07.08.2020, 12:31
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Re: Donating blood

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Can't donate either. You'd think a 34-40 year gap would be long enough to allow Brits to donate. Haven't lived in the UK for over 20 years. Isn't there some kind of test they could do to prove you're not a mad cow?
There is a test.... annoyingly they have to remove your brain to do it.
Don't know about you but I'm not that keen to donate blood!
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Old 07.08.2020, 12:35
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Re: Donating blood

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To be perfectly honest, I've always been secretly relieved that my British residence over those years means that I can't give blood here. The reason? I hate needles, have even been know, on more that one occasion, to fall down in a faint [1] as a reaction to injections.

As a B Neg, I know my blood type is relatively rare and would be in demand, and I'm sure that if I were allowed, I'd feel pressured into donating, even though I'd hate it, but playing the British card is a failsafe, both for my own conscience and if anyone ever asks.

FWIW I've had countless injections and surgeries over the years, including receiving blood and having daily blood tests at times, but if anything it's more of the reason that I hate needles than a factor in being able to deal with them.


[1] I once went to A&E to get a cut stitched up, had tetanus and penicillin jabs, then ten minutes later collapsed while waiting in line at the counter to make a follow-up appointment. I woke up on a gurney waiting for an X-ray on my suspected fractured jaw It wasn't broken, fortunately.
B neg is relatively rare but there isn’t a massively high demand for it as there aren’t many potential recipients so don’t feel too bad about being a wuss.

Joking aside needle phobia is a very real issue for a lot of people so I would never diss anyone who was unable to donate blood because of it.

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Seeing as the Swiss had a similar problem with CJ you would have thought they would be banned elsewhere or at least they would open the doors to the Brits.
The french had a massive CJ problem which they managed to hide pretty well so they’ve got a bit if a nerve banning brits.
They should be banned elsewhere too.
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Old 07.08.2020, 12:50
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Re: Donating blood

Four times per year. I even get a SMS when the level of my blood type is low Comming form a country where to get blood transfusion in a hospital you have to convince at least 3 familly members/friends to donate blood, i know it can be hard.
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Old 07.08.2020, 12:52
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Re: Donating blood

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Can't donate either. You'd think a 34-40 year gap would be long enough to allow Brits to donate. Haven't lived in the UK for over 20 years. Isn't there some kind of test they could do to prove you're not a mad cow?
Apparently it can take 50 years or more. They are expecting a second wave, due to it taking longer to affect people with MV proteins as opposed to just M proteins.

https://www.newscientist.com/article...ase-in-the-uk/
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Old 07.08.2020, 13:43
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Re: Donating blood

I guess there's either no good test for CJD or it's just not worth the extra screening for the reward of a little UK blood..?

I've got the badges and pins for over 100 donations in the UK, blood and platelets .. But it's no use here in CH.

Us brits can register on the bone marrow thing though, i guess that's much more tested. And stem cells if you're under 40 ..
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Old 07.08.2020, 14:20
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Re: Donating blood

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Seeing as the Swiss had a similar problem with CJ you would have thought they would be banned elsewhere or at least they would open the doors to the Brits.
People who lived in Switzerland during a certain period are banned abroad. Or I thought so. Looks like the US Red Cross removed Switzerland from the non-eligibility list, as there was never a documented case of vCJD in Switzerland. Th US on the other hand exclude France. The Canada Blood Service is much more restrictive: https://www.blood.ca/en/blood/am-i-e...ibility/travel

But opening the doors for people which lived in the UK, just because Switzerland had the same problem would be foolish. It is all about reducing risk as good as possible. On the other hand Switzerland can not rely on blood from abroad alone. It depends on the local donors.

Testing for the wrongly folded Prions is, AFAIK, difficult as potentially a single wrong folded prion is good enough to trigger the disease. And chemically the wrong folded form looks very like the correct folded variant. And it is not like a bacteria or virus where you can test for RNA/DNA or secondary markers such as antibodies or memory cells.
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Old 07.08.2020, 15:12
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Re: Donating blood

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I think a lot of us would gladly do it, but being British, cannot.

It's a shame there isn't a good test for CJD that would enable us to donate.
I wonder if they would take me (British, lifelong vegetarian). Probably not - which makes precisely no sense.

OK theoretical chance of some contamination. But the chances must be astronomically low. Lower than someone Swiss who has been to the UK on holiday even.

Last edited by HickvonFrick; 07.08.2020 at 15:29.
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