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UOttawa NextGen & The Importance of Donating Blood

Did you know that in Canada every 60 seconds someone needs blood? Or that 100,000 new donors are needed each year to help meet the needs of patients in Canada? 

Blood donors are needed every day in Canada. Blood is a critical part of every medical intervention including things like surgeries, cancer treatments, and more. By spending an hour of your life to donate, you could be saving someone else's. 

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Who is uOttawa NextGen? 

uOttawa NextGen is formerly known as uOttawa Blood Services and is an extension of the Canadian Blood Services. The team was started in 2017 by a uOttawa student who was a volunteer with the Canadian Blood Services. 

NextGen focuses on informing and increasing local youth engagement and awareness of donating blood. They provide various volunteer opportunities, give support to the Canadian Blood Services, as well as recruit new donors! 

Since NextGen was created as part of uOttawa, they have held several events in the past few years, such as their "What's your type" event! This event from NextGen allowed uOttawa students to learn their blood type! Blood typing is a 5-minute activity that any trained volunteer can perform. At the event, students would sit down and get a small prick on their finger, and their blood would be mixed with A, B, and O serums. The event was a success! Many of the students who had come to learn their blood type signed up to become blood donors. 

NextGen also promotes and supports the mobile clinics that Canadian Blood Services hold all across Ottawa, including on the uOttawa campus. 

You can learn more about uOttawa NextGen by following them on instagram @uobloodteam

Check out their linktree in their bio where they give you links to book an appointment to donate blood, and to volunteer with the uOttawa NextGen team. 

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Find out more about Canadian Blood Services on their website or give their number a call! 

Am I Able to Donate Blood? 

  • All blood types are needed! It does not matter what type you are 
  • You cannot have gotten a tattoo or piercing in the last 3 months 
  • You must be 17+ 
  • You must not be pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 6 months 
  • You must not be taking any prescription medications – Taking most prescription medications does not usually prevent you from donating. If you are taking any, check the acceptable medications list first. Some medications or the underlying causes that require you to take a particular medication may affect your eligibility. Call 1-888-236-6283 to speak to a nurse to find out. Learn more about other eligibility criteria.
  • You must not have visited the dentist in the last 72 hours 
  • You must not have travelled outside of Canada or the USA in the last 12 months - Donors who have travelled to the continental U.S., Europe and Antarctica must wait 14 days after they return home before donating blood. All other countries will require a 21 day wait. For malaria risk areas a 3 month deferral period is in effect.
  • You must weigh more than 110lbs 

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This chart shows how much blood different types of patients can need over different periods of times

Donating Blood FAQs 

What should I do before I donate? 

  • Drink lots of water, eat a healthy meal, and have a good night's sleep! Don't forget to bring a piece of government issued ID or your Canadian Blood Services Donor Card

What happens when I get there? 

  • Check in with a member of the blood service team, fill out the donor forms, drink the water and eat the snack provided, and sit down and donate!! 

What happens after I donate? 

  • A bandage will be applied to your arm, complete a muscle tensing exercise, sit for 15 minutes, rehydrate and enjoy another snack! 

How much blood is taken with each donation? 

  • A pint of blood (450ml) is taken with each donation. 

Can I donate blood after recovering from Covid-19? 

  • According to the Canadian Blood Services website, as of March 2020 anyone who had come in contact with someone who has contracted Covid-19, anyone who has tested positive, developed a fever following travel, or been in contact with anyone who has travelled outside of Canada and has developed Covid-19 symptoms cannot donate blood and must wait at least 14 days before reviewing eligibility. 

Facts About Donating Blood During A Pandemic

  • You must wear a surgical mask when donating - cloth masks are not allowed 
  • You must wait 21 days after recovering from Covid-19 before donating blood 
  • Donor beds are wiped between use, physical distancing measures are in place, masks are worn by all donors and volunteers
  • Covid-19 has shown to not be transmittable through blood and it is completely safe to donate during the pandemic 
  • If following your donation you find you that you have come into contact with Covid-19, you must contact Canadian Blood Services to inform them 
  • Donors who have received the Covid-19 Vaccine do not need to wait a deferral period 

Don't forget! There are other ways to help during the pandemic. New volunteers are always welcome with Canadian Blood Services, and financial gifts are able to help fuel research! 

Maddie is a fourth year student at the University of Ottawa majoring in History. She is a major fan of Friends, and The Office and is a geek for all things history. Maddie loves food, relaxing, and her cat.
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