We hope that the sanguine protect their donors as much as we expect our donors to protect us. Some of it is common sense, but these are my “Big Ten” :
1) Don’t feed if you or your donor are feeling ill or run down. The immune system is not up to par and so couldn’t fight off germs it usually could.
2) Clean the area you are going to cut before feeding. This reduces the chance of introducing bacteria or virus on the skin into the wound.
3) Sterilize the blade you use, or better yet, use a new one each time. Again, reduces the chance of introducing bacteria into the wound.
4) Sterilize your mouth. Don’t brush (this makes little cut on the gums that can allow virus or bacteria from the donor to enter) but use a mouth wash like Listerine for AT LEAST 30 seconds. And then don’t put anything in your mouth after wards until you feed. Note, if its longer then 30 minutes between when you rinse and when you feed… do it again!
5) Don’t suck on the wound. I know its a real hard thing not to do because the temptation is really there, but don’t. It causes tissue damage below the skin, ruptures capillaries and can reduce healing time. Plus, if you rupture the capillaries, blood flow doesn’t reach the wound as well and this allows bacteria to get a foot hold and cause infection. (Antibodies that fight infection are carried in the blood)
6) Clean the wound well afterwards. I usually have a three part process: Clean with isopropyl alcohol (stings, yes, but it is good), Slather on a layer of Neosporin or similar antimicrobial cream (they now make a Neosporin +Pain relief that is good…take the sting out of the cut). Cover with a band aid for one to two days. After two days, remove the bandage though, the wound will heal better if it can get some air circulation. If worried about scaring, I buy them a little bottle of Vit E oil. Its not medically proven, but it seems to work pretty good
7) KNOW BASIC FIRST AID!!! If you are going to cut someone, dammit, know how to stop it too! Accidents happen, don’t be caught with your fangs hanging out. The Red Cross in the US typically offers community education courses for free or cheap and are worth taking. In other countries, a similar program probably exists through doctors or hospitals.
8) Have a good First aid kit…bandages, creams, tourniquet…Anything that you think would be useful.
9) Be prepared to help should something happen due to your actions. If they wind up having to go to the doctor due to an infection of the cut or anything related… be prepared to help in some way. After all, you are partially responsible, so it’s something to keep in mind that a lot of people forget. Prepare for it, even if you don’t think it would ever happen to you…
10) Keep in touch! Don’t suddenly become unavailable (sanguine OR donor). If either seems to become ill a few days after, let the other know. Though you may have been feeling fine at the time, a lot of illnesses you can shed before you show actual signs. This also allows you to make sure the wound is healing all right and catch potential problems before they get big.