First, we want to give you a high five for wanting to give blood! Trying anything for the first time can be scary, and we want to ensure you know just what to expect and how to prepare when you come in to save lives with us.
Before Your Donation
- Get a good night's sleep the night before your donation.
- On the day of your donation, you can use the CFL Express Pass to complete your health history interview from your home or office. This is optional, but it will help speed up your donation! CFL Express Pass is available on our Digital Donor app or by logging in to your account. Don't forget to print your ticket if completing it through our website.
- Be sure to eat a hearty meal and drink plenty of fluids before you donate.
- If it's your first time donating, check out the what to expect page to learn more about the donation process.
- A Blood Center staff member will welcome you into a screening booth, where you'll present your photo ID and provide basic information about yourself. If you used the CFL Express Pass, present your ticket.
- In the private booth, you’ll answer questions about your past and present health on a computer; this information is kept confidential.
- When you are finished, 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 team member will escort you to a donation bed, where your arm will be examined and cleaned with a wet scrub. We’ll make sure you’re comfy, with a personal TV and blankets available upon request.
- Now your donation begins. Once the needle is in place, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to give a whole blood unit. If you are giving an automated donation—like platelets, plasma or double red cells—our team 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 your hand.
- Once your donation is complete, the needle will be removed, and we will apply a bandage.
- Sit and have a snack and a drink, relaxing for at least 15 minutes.
- Schedule your next donation.
- 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 four to six 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 in to your Digital Donor account to view your health results and the points you've earned for the Donor Rewards Store!