First time giving blood? Nervous about the idea of donating? Donating blood can seem scary and intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s everything you need to know before you make your life-saving appointment.
You have decided you want to give blood, now what? Here are some tips for what to do before your appointment.
What to Bring?
- Bring either your donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification.
- Bring a list of medications you are taking.
- Bring a friend! If you are feeling anxious, ask a friend to tag along.
What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Wear?
- Try to include iron-rich foods in your diet like red meat, fish, beans, and spinach.
- Make sure you eat a healthy meal before your donation.
- Stay hydrated! Drink an extra 16 ounces of water before your donation.
- Wear something comfortable that either has short sleeves or sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.
- Get a good night’s sleep and relax! Blood donation is a simple and safe procedure.
The donation process from the time you arrive to the time you leave takes about an hour. The donation itself only takes about 8 to 10 minutes. You will start with registration where you will sign in and present your ID or donor card. Then you will have a mini-physical. At the mini-physical, you will answer questions about your health history and where you have traveled. You will then have your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure taken. You will also have to have a small sample of blood taken to test your hemoglobin level. Next comes the donation.
The nurse will cleanse an area on your arm and insert a brand new sterile needle for the blood draw. This will feel like a quick pinch and is over in a few seconds. Now the hard part is done! For the next 8 to 10 minutes you can relax while approximately a pint of blood will be collected. Once that is complete, a staff person will place a bandage on your arm and you can head to the refreshments!
After your donation, you can head to the refreshment table to enjoy a free snack. Be sure to drink an extra four cups of liquids and avoid alcohol over the next 24 hours. You should also not work out for the rest of the day. Keep the bandage that was applied to your arm on for the next few hours. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness after donation, stop what you are doing and lie down until you are feeling better. If you have any problems or questions, feel free to call Carolina Convenient Care at 919-590-9005.
Source: American Red Cross