You know there are good reasons to give blood, but if you haven't donated before, you are probably wondering what to expect.
Read on for a quick overview of what happens, and watch our video below for some helpful tips for a great donation!
- Get a good night's sleep the night before your donation.
- The day of your donation, use CFLexpress to complete your health history interview from your home or office. This is optional, but will help speed up your donation! Don't forget to print your ticket.
- Read the information sheet about donating blood.
- Be sure to eat a hearty meal and drink plenty of fluids before you donate.
- A Blood Center crew member will welcome you into a screening booth, where you'll present your photo ID and provide basic information about yourself. If you used CFLexpress, present your ticket.
- In private, answer questions about your past and present health; this information is kept confidential.
- The screener will return and administer a mini health exam (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate).
- A blood drop will be taken from your finger to determine your blood type and hematocrit level.
- A crew member will escort you to a donation bed, where your arm will be examined and cleaned with a wet scrub.
- Now your donation begins. Once the needle is in place, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to give a unit of whole blood. If you are giving an automated donation - like platelets, plasma or double red cells - our staff will let you know how long the procedure should take.
- During your donation, use Applied Muscle Tension, alternately contracting and relaxing muscle groups in the body. One method is to tighten the muscles of the legs and buttocks for about five seconds, relax for five to 10 seconds and repeat. Another method is to squeeze a ball in the hand.
- Once your donation is complete, the needle will be removed and a bandage will be applied.
- Sit and have a snack and a drink, relaxing for at least 15 minutes.
- Talk with the staff about scheduling your next donation. You'll earn bonus points for doing so!
- As long as you're feeling well (not lightheaded or dizzy), go out and enjoy your day. Be proud that you've helped save a life!
- Drink additional water, keep the bandage in place for a few hours and avoid strenuous physical activity for the remainder of the day. If you begin to feel lightheaded or dizzy, lie down until feeling better.
- The following day, log on to Digital Donor to view your health check results and points you've earned for the Commit for Life Store!