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Iron replacement, Ferritin and FBC testing for whole blood donors (aged: 16 – 45 years) in KwaZulu-Natal
SANBS iron replacement, ferritin and fbc programme
Iron tablets will be offered to donors (aged 16 – 45 years) following donation of a unit of whole blood
You can decide whether you would like to receive the tablets
If you are already on iron tablets you can resume taking your own tablets
As part of the SANBS iron programme, donors receiving iron will be offered a Ferritin and Full blood count (FBC) test
Testing for Ferritin and FBC will enable monitoring of the impact of iron tablets on body iron recovery
What are the benefits of iron tablets?
Iron tablets can speed up recovery of iron lost through blood donation
How should I take my iron tablets?
You need to take one tablet (of the ferrous sulphate, 65 mg) every second day
The tablet should be taken once a day, preferably before bed-time; this reduces side effects
If you cannot take the tablet at night you can take it in the morning
If you forget to take the tablet you can take it as soon as you remember
How can I help my body absorb the iron?
Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C enhances iron absorption by as much as 20 times
Examples include oranges, kiwi fruit, melons and lemons
Avoid taking iron tablets with tea, coffee, breakfast cereals and calcium rich foods as these interfere with iron absorption
Where does iron come from?
Iron is found in a variety of foods
Examples include: meat and meat based foods, eggs, lentils, beans, cereals, and beetroot
How does blood donation affect my iron?
A unit of whole blood leads to a loss of 200 – 250 mg of iron
Iron recovery occurs mostly through food
A diet lacking in iron or poor iron absorption can result in delayed iron recovery
What is iron-deficiency and anaemia?
Iron deficiency occurs if the body’s iron stores are used up faster than they are replenished
Uncorrected it can lead to anaemia
One of the ways to prevent iron deficiency is through adequate iron intake
What is haemoglobin and iron?
Haemoglobin (Hb) is a protein found in red blood cells
It carries oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body
Iron is a vital part of haemoglobin; it helps the body to make haemoglobin
Why is haemoglobin measured before each blood donation?
A specific haemoglobin level needs to be in place prior to donation
This is because haemoglobin provides some indication of the body’s iron levels
In some instances, the body’s iron levels can be low even in the presence of a normal haemoglobin
What is ferritin testing?
Ferritin is a test that provides an indication of the iron stored in the body
It provides a more reliable indication of iron in the body
Can iron supplements cause side-effects?
Iron supplements can cause side effects
These include bloated tummy, nausea, vomiting, dark stools, diarrhoea, constipation or an upset tummy
Lower-dose tablets such as the one used in this programme tend to cause fewer side effects
If the symptoms become bothersome, please contact our Medical liaison officers on the following numbers: 031 719 6980/6655 alternatively contact the SANBS customer service call centre toll free on 0800 11 90 31
Can iron supplements be harmful?
Iron supplements are not usually harmful to adults when taken as directed, but accidental ingestion of a large dose by children can be harmful
You should keep all iron-containing products out of the reach of children
In case of accidental ingestion, seek emergency medical assistance from the nearest hospital or poison centre urgently!!