Link to original: http://sphynxcatvp.nocturna.org/articles/sc-donors-bleedingtips.html
This article is written with an eye for the donors who don't want to have pain (or at least not huge amounts of pain) associated with feeding a vampire. This will be especially applicable for donors who are more "vanilla" (don't have pain-associated fetishes, for example), are more sensitive than usual to pain, or who are more nervous/less experienced (and more likely to be driven away by a bad/painful experience.)
All vampires should assume that any new donor is "vanilla" unless the donor is obviously not "vanilla" - too much pain can drive a donor away just as much as a bad attitude can. Thus, it is always a good idea to discuss what will be involved in the process with your donor ahead of time, so they know what to expect, and so that you know the issues/expectations they have on their mind regarding the experience. It also helps to find out what would help them feel more relaxed, especially if they're new to being a donor.
As a general rule, vampires greatly prefer to avoid potential donors that are covered in bruises or strange types of scars. Some medications can cause bruising - either deliberately or as a side effect - or it can be a sign of bad health in general. Strange scarring - such as what's often called "track marks" (many puncture marks on the arm, typically in a messy cluster or a line, around the inside of the elbow or down the forearm) - can be an indicator of extremely risky and disease prone behavior.
Assumptions for this Article (in short)
- The donor is more "vanilla" or new to being a donor.
- The vampire is using a bladed instrument for bloodletting, such as a razor, craft knife, or scalpel.
- Excessive pain, and resultant marks/scars in everyday plain view, are not desired.
See my tools page for various (easy to get) tool options.
Understand that there IS a learning curve - initial attempts can be very frustrating until you get the hang of it. Practice will eventually make it much easier.
Get a first aid certification (at minimum) and keep it current. Good idea for donors too, so that neither of you just freak out if something goes wrong. If you do volunteer work for the Red Cross or similar agencies, you might be able to get the training for free. Even if you have to pay for it, it's a VERY worthwhile investment, no matter what.
Have a copy of blood test results within the last six months for communicable diseases. Blood donation agencies have a list of bloodborne illnesses they test for; ideally this should be the minimum set any donor should have run. Blood donation agencies will run this list automatically, but may or may not send you a sheet with the results if they were negative. Ask ahead of time. Otherwise, you can probably go to an agency like Planned Parenthood (yes, even if you're not getting birth control or pregnancy counseling) or something similar to have testing run. Check your local area.
Don't use things for this purpose that aren't intended for it. Basically, no broken glass (glass splinters), no kitchen knives (not balanced well, and generally not super-sharp to begin with) and so on. You don't want to make a mess of the wound and the donor. :P
Have a saline solution on hand for cleaning the wound. Saline nasal sprays are ideal for this, and generally these can be purchased anywhere eye care and contact lens care products are sold, or in the section for nose care - you want one that's essentially JUST salt and water, without any extra chemicals. READ THE LABELS! If you can't find a simple saline rinse in the store, you can make your own with the following recipe:
- 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized salt (Kosher salt recommended.)
- 10oz cup warm water (filtered or previously boiled)
- Pinch of baking soda to reduce any stinging/burning sensation
This gives you a 0.9% sodium chloride solution, in the same proportions as the salt vs. water content of the body.
Get a list ahead of time of whatever the vampire is allergic to or will react to, so that they can be avoided for a few days ahead of time. (Recommended 2-3 days for minor reactions, and at least 1 week avoidance for anything causing severe reactions.)
Verify the age of the donor. You don't want to be arrested for what is legally considered to be indecent whatevers with a minor. Check the drivers license or non-driver-ID - not just a workplace ID, as many USA states allow minors to work as young as age 15 or 16 with a work permit (Thus there may be simaler rules in other countries for children under legal age.)
Scarring risks should be discussed, and location(s) acceptable to the donor should be noted for use. The donor should be aware that any scarring has the risk of being PERMANENT - so if they plan to wear bathing suits or skimpy clothing a lot, this is something to keep in mind.
Also, if the donor goes into a hospital or medical care facility, visible scarring of these nature may be misinterpreted as being the sign of a cutter or attention seeker, and their necessary medical care may be impacted as a result - i.e., they get sent only for a psych evaluation instead of care being given for existing valid medical conditions. Thus, keeping any feeding marks at least under the area of a t-shirt will help immensely in keeping these kinds of problems down to a minimum.
Scarring can be reduced with application of a high strength vitamin E oil (28,000IU or better - the liquid will be viscous, like honey) applied several times a day (and left on) for a few weeks. This will greatly reduce or even eliminate scarring. You can find some high strength ones on amazon, so you know what to look for if you want to shop locally. Start this once the wound has actually finished healing (as the vitamin E oil will collect every single stray bit of lint and dust that goes by) and be persistent. Doing this for only a few days won't make an appreciable difference.
Biting (commentary from Shortgoth)
I love being bitten and am masochistic but I have to say that being bitten hard enough to draw blood hurts a hell of a lot. Even just hard enough to leave teeth imprints and a bruise hurts more than most people would enjoy. It is *slightly* easier if you use more of a scraping technique with your teeth rather than just chomping down, but you won't get much blood that way and it leaves an irritating graze.
Mind you, biting into a cut you've made with your preferred razor/scalpel/whatever implement - digging upper or lower teeth into the cut itself - can encourage blood flow and might sate the love of biting/desire to get blood from biting. That also hurts a fair amount too though and will certainly increase the likelyhood of the cut scarring as you'll end up tearing the wound a bit.
Biting simply "around" the cut - upper teeth "above" it and lower "beneath" - would be far less painful and won't alter the original wound, so that's probably the "best" course of action :).
Ways to Improve the Experience - Hours Before
Discuss with the donor what can be done to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable - being relaxed and comfortable through the whole process also helps ward off endorphin shock. (Endorphin shock is defined as "...an overload to the physical and mental system that results from too great a quantity of endorphins being released too intensely in too short a period of time as a response to overstimulation." Someone with endorphin shock will typically start look vaguely green and nauseous, as well as wanting to vomit all over.)
Shower or bathe ahead of time to cut down on general body stink and get clean. Clean smelling clothes are a good idea too - trust me, this is always a good idea, especially if one person smokes and the other doesn't. When you're in that close proximity, the donor can smell you as much as you can smell them. :)
1-2 hours ahead of time, brush your teeth to remove contaminants from food. This far ahead will allow time for any bleeding gums to stop bleeding AND for the persistent toothpaste flavor to wear off. (Honestly, blood plus toothpaste flavor? Ewwww!) If your gums are too sensitive or bleed too easily from brushing, use mouthwash and scrub with a clean washcloth or towel. Don't eat anything between this point and when you feed, otherwise you'll be adding contaminants back on to your teeth.
See the article on bite infections linked at the bottom - getting the gunk OFF your teeth reduces this risk greatly.
Ways to Improve the Experience - Shortly Before
CautionDonors should not move a whole lot while the vampire is feeding - too much movement will likely trigger a 'bite reflex' as the vampire tries to stay "latched on" (this WILL hurt, and will be a bit messier and ouchier while healing).
Before-feeding munchies (something with sugar and protein) to prevent or reduce the possibility of endorphin shock. Having food in your stomach reduces the chance of getting nausea in this situation as well.
(Admittedly, having a bucket handy in case nausea and vomiting happen anyway is a good idea - line it with 2 or 3 plastic trash bags to make cleanup easier. Once the donor's reactions are more predictable, this will likely not be necessary.)
A few minutes before feeding, use mouthwash to kill any remaining germs.
Cutting should be done out of the range of vision, whether closing the eyes or turning the head during the process.
Remember to relax!
Ways to Improve Bloodflow
First, follow the same tips that the blood donation agencies suggest for your diet.
If that doesn't work well enough, you can also try natural blood thinning methods - natural so you don't have to worry about drug side effects on either of you. These are also good if you're generally concerned about clotting problems affecting your health, say if there's a family history of thromboembolism, for example.
These, and many others, are among the vitamins I take daily. I can personally vouch for their general safety, barring allergies to any additional chemicals in the versions you (the reader) are able to find. The three in this list should all be in gelatinous capsule form, in varying sizes. They should not be powdered capsules, and *definitely* avoid tablets because they don't digest well.
- Fish oil at 4,000mg/day, ideally for 3-4 days ahead of time if you're on a feeding schedule. Normally fish oil is recommended somewhere around 1,000 - 2,000mg/day for a regular basis. After the feeding, go back to a more typical level of fish oil.
- Vitamin E at 3,000IU/day (this reduces platelet stickiness, and also reduces the severity of bruising - strengthens the walls of blood vessels.) Again, this should be 3-4 days ahead of time, with reduction to 1,000-2,000IU's daily afterward.
- Vitamin D at 5,000IU/day In addition to the mild reduction in platelet stickiness, this also modulates the immune system, improves your heart and general physical conditions, and other things.
Some foods have salicylate (aspirin-like) compounds, which have a mild blood thinning effect. Generally people who are sensitive to salicylates (like aspirin) will have an allergy to it that is severe enough to warrant a diet change in addition to an avoidance of aspirin and similar medications. There are links at the bottom for more information and additional food types not listed here. These foods include, but are not limited to:
- Fruits: apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, cranberry, currants, dates, grapes, guava, loganberry, oranges, pineapple, plum, prunes, raisins, raspberry, redcurrant, rockmelon, strawberry, tangelo, tangerines, youngberry
- Vegetables: Capsicum (component in cayenne pepper and other foods/medications), champignon mushrooms, chicory (sometimes used as a coffee substitute), courgette, endive, gherkins, hot peppers, olives, radish, tomato, tomato based foods
- Nuts, sweets & snacks: All jams/jellies and marmalades except pear, almond, fruit flavors, honey and honey flavors, liquorice, mint flavored sweets, muesli bars, peppermints, savory flavored items, water chestnuts
- Herbs, spices and condiments: Aniseed, cayenne, curry, dill, thyme, fish paste, meat paste, tomato paste, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce
Locations with Least Pain
Many people will recommend - for legalities sake - that the donor be the one making the cuts on themselves. This is all well and good, but keep in mine that AT ALL TIMES the person DOING the cutting should be able to SEE the area being cut. This is for safety and control reasons - you can't control the cutting if you can't see it in progress. If you are having the donor make the cut themselves, then they need to choose an area they can see while cutting. Never use an area that's out of view of the person actually handling the blade.
Do NOT leave any marks out of the reach of a donor who is:
- going home afterward AND
- lives alone or with people who don't understand or are not sympathetic.
The reason is because the donor needs to be able to take care of the wound(s) if necessary, which means they need to be able to both see it and reach it in order to take proper care of it.
If the donor lives in an understanding household, or the vampire is within easy distance (i.e., same geographical area, or one is staying with the other) then it's less of a hassle to monitor the healing process.
No location is particularly faster in healing than any other - however areas that are less stretched with movement will heal better just by virtue of the wound not being reopened or stresed so much. (Advise light to moderate movements only; heavy movement or lifting for some locations will likely cause them to reopen and bleed again no matter where the wound is.)
Least Painful In General
Your donor's pain sensitivity level will differ from person to person. Frequently mentioned by donors I've spoken to are the upper arms and shoulders - away from the curve of the neck - as well as the forearms. Stick to fatty areas (more cushioning) rather than over bone when possible. Forearms also tend to be visible when just wearing tshirts; this can complicate things if the donor needs medical care and the medical staff see the scars. See the explanation under the Scarring section above.
If you are using razor blades, often the point of the razor making a short cut will work better (produce more blood) than a long shallow cut. Because the cut is shorter, it's a little less painful, and there's less (shorter) scarring. Doing 2-4 of them close together produces more blood than a single cut.
Shortgoth, from VCMB
Upper arms, shoulders, and shoulderblades are generally less painful. Forearms can work, but they're pretty visible and - on a male donor such as myself at least - tend to be hairy.
WingedWolfPsion, from Black Swan Haven Forums
The top of the forearm a couple of inches or more above the wrist. Very little pain sensitivity there, and a lot better control with the blade. 1/4 inch or less cuts. I use 2 or 3 in a row, and may go back over the cuts to deepen them. This can work great and reduce problems with the wound closing too quickly, and it's not particularly painful. (It does seem to horrify the vamp watching, but it actually hurts less than the initial cut). With 3 or 4 1/4 inch cuts enough blood flow is created. At this point, because there are so many in a row clustered in the one area, and they're so short, they don't look like razor cuts any longer--it looks like one scar from a single event, instead. Draws no attention and I don't look like a cutter that way.
Areas marked are the top of the shoulder (away from the curve of the neck) and the upper arm.
Stick to fatty areas; cutting over the bones tends to be more painful.
See "Caution" note at the top of this section.
Use the pain test in the next section to determine best location on the back.
Keep the cuts all in one area when possible; over the long term, the scarring will look more accidental than deliberate.
Pain Reduction Tips
This is a method to to test the amount of nerve endings in a potential location. Using pencils will be simplest - take a few pencils with points on them, and hold a random number of them (point first) against the skin in potential locations. If the donor can reliably tell you how many pencils you're holding against the skin for that spot, it will likely be too painful to be cut as well.
Aydin, from Black Swan Haven forums:
One thing that I have found useful with my donors is Orajel. It is a general topical anesthetic [pain reliever] for teeth and gums. Rub a small amount or the product on the selected site, leave it there for a couple of minutes, clean site, cut. I do not recommend using this with needles. For the most part it doesn't really affect the taste (at least with the Orajel that my donors typically use). As for side effects, the biggest one is generally numbness in the lips and gums. Make sure it is something that is ingestable (nontoxic). I really don't mind the side effects if it makes in easier for my donor, its the least I can do for those who do not like/tolerate pain well.
We have used both liquid and gel, but generally the gel form. The liquid gets spilled a lot (I am a little clumsy). Both seem to work equally well.
Things in the Blood
It has been reported by enough vampires that allergens and other things they are sensitive to, in the bloodstream of a donor, WILL cause a reaction in the vampire post-feeding. Generally this reaction will be the same as if the vampire had ingested the allergic substance directly. Mathematically speaking, the amount may be tiny relative to the usual direct dose, but the reaction IS STILL THERE! Vampires should NOT assume they are safe from reaction just because they weren't the ones ingesting it.
As cliche as it sounds, there are some vampires who do react to garlic - so be aware they may also react to onions, scallions/green onions, shallots, leeks and chives because they're all in the same plant family. Sometimes it's a matter of degree or severity, and sometimes vampires don't react at all to any of them. Mundanes can have this reaction too, it's not limited to just vampires.
Drugs (and some illnesses) create some by-products that the body that are then excreted through the skin via sweat. (This accounts for the "sick ward" and "old people" smells that some people comment on.) Generally, areas of the body that sweat the most will be the first places you might notice the change in odor - and depending on the severity of odor change, it can range from "hardly noticeable" to "reeling back gagging". Someone with a more sensitive sense of smell will notice this a lot faster than someone who doesn't.
Besides the notations on allergies and drugs above, there are types of foods that will have an impact above and beyond any potential for allergic reactions. Someone who eats a lot of greasy foods or fast foods will likely have more "greasy" texture to their blood than someone who doesn't. Not all vampires may notice this, but the ones who do may ask the donor to refrain from foods that result in unpleasant textures.
It's recommended to have at least a couple of these options on hand, depending on your method - find out what your donor may be allergic to, or get a rash from, beforehand, so that there aren't any post-cleanup issues.
- Antibiotic creams
- Alcohol (stings)
- Iodine tincture
- Silver sulfadiazine cream
- Hydrogen peroxide (stings)
- Saline solution (for flushing the wound; see recipe at top of page)
- Gauze pads (for wiping the wound down and/or covering the wound afterward if using tape)
- Masking tape / surgical tape / butterfly bandages (for holding the wound closed)
AerisD from Black Swan Haven Forums:
If you've got yourself a razor cut, use advanced healing band-aids and a butterfly band-aid. Ever since I started using them, you can barely see the scar, plus it heals much faster. I swear by them. Put the butterfly band-aid on as best you can so that the cut is closed up as much as possible, and then put the advanced healing band-aid over it. I take mine off in like 5 days to a week (depending on how deep the cut is) and it's basically healed.
The only two scars that I've ever actually gotten comments on would be the ones from the first two feeds, which I didn't use butterfly band-aids or advanced healing band-aids on.
Oh, and don't use any anti-bacterial cream when using the band-aids. It makes them unable to stick. I just clean it with benzoyl peroxide or alcohol to disinfect it.
WingedWolfPsion from Black Swan Haven Forums:
I generally use just surgical tape, and some antibiotic ointment. The ointment keeps the tape from sticking to the wound, and speeds healing and reduces scarring. The tape, applied correctly, pulls the edges of the wound together, also minimizing scarring. Only needs to be left on for one day to do the trick. I found band-aids didn't work as well for bringing together the edges of the wound completely. The liquid band-aids* stuff is also useless, and you can't use antibiotic ointment with it.
* That wound glue stuff they sell now. You just paint it on and it seals the wound. It doesn't hold the edges of the wound together properly, though, so don't bother with it. It also peels off in no time.
A clean and uninfected wound will have minimal color change, little to no pain, no inflammation/swelling, and should stay thoroughly scabbed over while healing. Unless the wound is aggravated (for example by a bra strap rubbing over the area, or straps from purses or large carry-all bags) it should stay painless and scabbed over.
An infected wound starts with inflammation/swelling, redness, and increasing pain. It's also warmer than the surrounding tissue. If the infection is not treated and it progresses, it will increase in size, start smelling really bad, and the skin will get darker than the surrounding area. If it gets bad enough, it will start draining pus.
It may even proceed to septicemia, which is a general infection of the blood (not just the skin). Septicemia can be fatal if not treated in time, which is why proper wound care is ESSENTIAL. Behavior may also be erratic as the patient becomes too sick to think properly. See this septicemia link for details.
Certain people will be at a higher risk of infections - and are NOT RECOMMENDED as donors!! - due to any of the following:
- Immunocompromised patients
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients on steroid pills or shots
- Advanced organ failure - sets up immunocompromised conditions
- Patients with cancer
- Any other illness that weakens or stresses the immune system
- You cannot feel where the wound is due to nerve damage or other things
- Heart disease or breathing issues also compromise immune system
Nutrients & Clot Formation
- ACR/ARHP Presentation: Vitamin D - An Instrumental Factor in Anti-Phopholipids
- Medscape: Low Vitamin D Levels Independent Predictor of Fatal Stroke
- PharmaGkb: Vitamin E
- RxList: Fish Oil
- Vitamin D Council: Sterol definition
Salicylates In Food
- WiseGeek - What are Salicylates?
- Auckland Allergy Clinic: Salicylate Sensitivity
- British Allergy Foundation - Salicylate / Aspirin Avoidance
- PubMed: Salicylates in Food (J Am Diet Assoc. 1985 Aug;85(8):950-60)
Wound Care / Infections
- About.com - Emergency Wound Care
- BBC Health: Septicemia
- eMedicine: Human Bite Infections
- eMedicine Health: Wound Care
- Journal of Wound Care - Use of Honey as an Antiseptic
- Mayo Clinic: Cuts & Scrapes - First Aid
- Suite 101: Normal Saline for Wound Care
- Anatomical drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci