The five most common questions about donating blood
In 2021, people were interested in the effects of various medicines and vaccinations on blood donation, as well as information on blood donation events in their municipality. These topics came out on top in more than 20,000 conversations in the Blood Service chatbot.
Can you donate blood during a prescribed course of medication? And how can you know what your blood group is?
Last year, people had a total of 20,510 conversations with a virtual assistant, the Pisara chat bot, on the Blood Service website. The five most frequently asked topics included information on donation sites and blood donation intervals as well as various issues related to the eligibility to donate blood.
“You don’t have to wonder about your eligibility to donate blood all on your own. In addition to the constantly improving chatbot, those interested in donating blood will find assistance online by completing the Can I donate online test and studying the comprehensive information available on the Blood Service website”, says Tuuli Vuori, Communications Officer at Finnish Red Cross Blood Service.
“Personal guidance is also available on weekdays by phone from the toll-free information helpline for blood donors, tel. 0800 05801.”
The five most frequently asked questions about donating blood
1. What medication prevents blood donation?
Most types of medication do not prevent blood donation. More important than the medicine itself is most often the symptom for which it has been required in the first place. For example, the use of NSAIDs is not a deferral for blood donation. However, the symptom for which they have been taken – such as fever or a headache – may prevent donation.
Information on the effects of various diseases on blood donation can be found on the Blood Service website.
2. Can I donate blood in my home municipality?
Blood can be donated at any Blood Service donation site or at blood donation events across the country. There are permanent donation sites in nine different cities. In addition, blood donation events are held weekly in several locations. You can search for a suitable blood donation site in the calendar on the Blood Service website.
3. How often can you donate blood?
For men, blood donation is recommended at maximum 3–4 times a year and for women 2–3 times a year, and for young women no more than once a year. For men, there must be at least 61 days between blood donations and for women, at least 91 days.
You can check when the minimum interval has passed and when your next possible donation day is by using the donation date calculator on the Blood Service website.
“You can donate blood at a pace that is suitable for you – for some people, it means soon after the minimum intervals have been met and for others, once a year. Committed blood donors are an extremely valuable help to patients, regardless of the frequency of their donation intervals,” Vuori says.
4. How can I find out my blood group?
You will find out your blood group after your first donation. You do not need to know the blood group before donating blood. You can get information about your blood group approximately two weeks after your first blood donation.
The blood group is also determined for each pregnant woman and, for example, when a surgical procedure is planned for a patient.
5. How do the most common vaccinations affect blood donation?
The most common vaccinations do not prevent a person from donating blood. For example, after being vaccinated against coronavirus or influenza, you can donate blood even on the same day. However, if vaccination results in severe aches, fever or other strong reactions, wait two days after the symptoms have passed before you donate blood.
Blood donations in February
Book an an appointment to blood donation here.
Blood can be donated at blood donation events organised across Finland and at the ten Blood Service donation units. Office opening hours can be found on each unit’s website:
- Blood Service Espoo, Iso Omena shopping centre, Service center (level 3), 02230 Espoo
- Blood Service Helsinki, Kivihaka, Kivihaantie 7, 00310 Helsinki
- Blood Service Helsinki, Sanomatalo, Töölönlahdenkatu 2 (2nd floor), 00100 Helsinki
- Blood Service Jyväskylä, Kolmikulma, Puistokatu 2-4, 40100 Jyväskylä
- Blood Service Kuopio, Puijonkatu 23 (Sektori, 2nd floor), 70100 Kuopio
- Blood Service Lahti, Kauppakatu 10 Kauppakeskus Trio Hansakuja, 15140 Lahti
- Blood Service Oulu, Isokatu 32 C, 90100 Oulu
- Blood Service Seinäjoki, Kauppakatu 26 (at the corner of Vapaudentie), 60100 Seinäjoki
- Blood Service Tampere, Koskikeskus, Hatanpään valtatie 1, 33100 Tampere
- Blood Service Turku, Yliopistonkatu 29 b (3rd floor), 20100 Turku
Future blood donation events can be found in the calendar on the Blood Service website.