In summertime, blood donors are encouraged to take a few important matters into account. Staying hydrated is essential when sunbathing and enjoying the hot weather, travelling abroad may cause a temporary donation deferral, and bug bites should be monitored, too, if you are thinking of donating blood.
In summertime, it is nice to take it easy while doing some good — holiday makers are more than welcome to donate blood for patients who need blood products every day, even during the summer season. Please read below a few important tips for the summer season:
Remember to stay hydrated
Before and after blood donation, it is recommended to drink a lot of water or juice, especially if it is a hot day. Dehydration may come on quickly and without you even noticing it. Persons thinking of blood donation during summer should pay attention to their own well-being — if the skin becomes red after being in the sun or if you get a sunstroke, you should wait a few days until you feel better before donating.
Ticks and insects
Taking the anti-tick vaccine is not considered as a donation deferral. You may donate blood immediately after taking the vaccine if you do not suffer from any complications from the vaccine (such as fever or skin reaction). If a tick has bitten you and a rash has developed around the tick bite, you must wait for a month after the rash has healed or the course of drug therapy prescribed for it has ended before you can donate blood.
If you get an exceptionally violent reaction to a bite of some other insect or if a bite has required a particular treatment (first aid tablets for a snake bite, antibiotic treatment, cortisone tablets, etc.) you should wait until you are free of symptoms and two weeks have passed since the end of the antibiotic treatment. Taking antihistamine or other topical allergy medications (skin creams, drops, nasal sprays, etc.) does not pose an obstacle to blood donation.
Check travel restrictions
Normally, travelling within the EU does not lead to a donation deferral. However, a 28-day donation deferral, starting from the date of return, will be applied to persons travelling or residing in the risk areas of West Nile virus in central and southern Europe during the period between 1 July and 30 November. These risk areas include many summer vacation destinations that are popular among Finns, such as Italy, Greece, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia. Remember always after travelling to make sure to find out whether you are eligible for donating blood.
Other tips for holiday makers?
If you spend summer in your summer place or travel outside your home town, check where to find the nearest donation location and come and visit a Blood Service Centre that is new to you or a mobile blood collection unit. Blood can be donated across Finland!