Prepare yourself before donating blood for the first time.
Planning to head to a blood drive soon? January is National Blood Donor Month. If you are going to participate for the first time, you should be proud of yourself! It is normal to feel a bit hesitant at first. Everyone gets a little nervous before their first blood donating experience, but soon you will be leaving with a bandaged arm, a calm mind, and a heart that knows you did the right thing.
How to Prepare
Anemia is a common reason blood donations are denied. Make sure you are getting a lot of iron in the weeks leading up to the blood drive. You can receive iron through meats, greens, eggs, or supplements.
On the day of your donation you will want to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can make the process tricky and you may feel woozy afterward. You'll also want to eat a meal that morning with plenty of fats.
Make sure you bring your driver's license and donor card! You will also need to give a detailed medical history before you can begin, so write down the names of any medications you may be on if you won't be able to remember them on the spot.
What to Expect
The donation process involves four steps. First you will register with your ID and your donor card. Next, you will undergo a mini physical. During this evaluation you will be asked several questions that will ensure you are eligible to give blood. Giving blood usually only takes about 15 minutes, and most donors report only mild discomfort during the point of insertion. After your donation is complete, you will be given something to drink and a small snack. It is recommended that you give your body ten to fifteen minutes to rest before heading back home.