What First-Time Blood Donors Need to Know

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First time blood donation can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what to do before, during and after your appointment will ease any fear you may feel. All you have to do is sit back, relax and be a hero!

On the day of your donation, expect to spend about one hour at the center. Drawing a pint of blood takes no more than 20 minutes, but you’ll need time to prepare before and after your appointment.

To ensure that you are a suitable candidate to donate, you’ll be asked for basic information about your health and lifestyle, including medical history. All of this information is strictly confidential. Then you will submit to a small pinprick finger test to assess if you are medically fit for blood donation.

  • Get a good night’s rest. if your body requires a specific number of hours of sleep, be sure to sleep enough.
  • Eat a healthy meal before your appointment. Focus on eating foods rich in iron such as fish, meat, beans and spinach.
  • Avoid eating fatty foods as this can make testing your blood difficult.
  • Bring proper identification.
  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you are taking.
  • Continue to hydrate well. Drink 16 ounces of water just before your appointment.
  • Wear a short sleeve shirt or something you can easily roll up.

After your donation, you will be asked to relax for 10 to 15 minutes. Blood donation centers will have delicious recovery snacks so take advantage of this perk and enjoy.

  • Drink another 8 ounces of liquid and avoid alcohol for 24 hours.
  • Keep your strip bandage on for several hours.
  • Avoid any heavy lifting and vigorous activity for the rest of the day.

Donating blood is an easy way you can make a life-saving difference for someone. It is quick, painless, and saves lives. While you do your good deed, make it fun and ask a friend to donate at the same time and do a double-good deed!

For a location near you visit: vitalant.org

By Nirali Patel

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