How to prepare to donate blood: 14 steps (with pictures)

How to prepare to donate blood: 14 steps (with pictures)
How to prepare to donate blood: 14 steps (with pictures)

The availability of quality blood is particularly important in modern medicine. Blood cannot be created synthetically, so it must be collected from voluntary donors. However, many people dread this type of procedure for reasons ranging from fear of being in pain to the risk of catching an illness. Donating blood is safe thanks to the many precautions in place, which means there is nothing to be afraid of. The most serious risks when donating blood are minor side effects such as dizziness, fainting, or bruising. If you take a few simple steps, you will be prepared as best you can to donate blood.


Part 1 of 2: Preparing for the donation

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 1

Step 1. Determine if you are eligible

Each national collection service has established different requirements to be eligible for donation. These range from blood diseases to previous places of travel to the age and weight of the donor. In general, you can donate blood if you meet certain criteria.

  • Log on to the site of the French blood establishment to determine your eligibility for the donation.
  • You should be healthy, fit and free from any illness at the time of donation. Avoid donating blood if you have a cold, cold sore, cough, virus, or upset stomach. Certain prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, may make you ineligible to donate blood.
  • You must weigh at least 50 kg.
  • You must be a certain age. In many countries, parental consent is required for adolescents aged 16 to 17 who wish to donate blood. If you are this age, check with the blood service in your area.
  • You can only donate blood every 56 days if you are a man and every 84 days if you are a woman (so that the iron level is high enough after menstrual cycles). If you have recently donated blood, you will no longer be eligible until this period has passed.
  • Do not donate blood if you have had a simple tooth extraction within the past 24 hours or a major tooth extraction within the past 30 days. Dental extractions in general can dislodge bacteria which increase the risk of blood infection and systemic infection.
  • Wait 6 to 12 months to donate blood after a new piercing or tattoo.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 2

Step 2. Make an appointment

There are many blood collection centers in most countries. As these centers need time to prepare for the process, you need to make an appointment. It will also give you time to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met by that specific date.

You can also wait for a blood drive to be organized near you if you don't want to make an appointment. Check the local announcements to find out about blood drives in your area

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 3

Step 3. Eat foods rich in iron

Since iron is required for blood production, you should eat foods that contain iron for 2 weeks before your appointment. This will allow you to have rich blood for donation and it will help you recover better afterwards. Some of the foods you should favor include spinach, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, organ meats, eggs, and beef.

A good level of vitamin C also helps improve iron absorption. Try to consume citrus fruits, juices, or vitamin C supplements

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 4

Step 4. Hydrate

To prepare your body for blood loss, you should drink plenty of water or fruit juice the day before and the morning before donation. The main cause of discomfort and dizziness when you donate blood is a drop in blood pressure or blood sugar levels. This risk will be greatly reduced if you hydrate properly when going to the collection center.

  • It is recommended that you drink a lot in the 24 hours before donation, especially in hot weather. This includes consuming 4 large glasses of water or fruit juice 3 hours before donating blood.
  • If you donate plasma or platelets, drink 4-6 glasses of 250 ml of fluid 2-3 hours before your appointment.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 5

Step 5. Get a good night's rest

Before donating blood, you must get enough sleep. This will help you feel better and more alert when you donate blood, which will help reduce your chances of side effects.

This means that you need to get a full night's sleep (7-9 hours for adults) before donating blood

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 6

Step 6. Eat 1 to 3 hours before donating blood

Never donate blood without having eaten before. As you eat, your blood sugar level remains stable, which will help you feel better after the donation. Having food in your body helps prevent dizziness and fainting. You need to eat something healthy that makes you feel full without making you feel "bloated."

  • If you donate blood early, eat something like eggs and toast or something else to increase your iron levels, salt levels, and water levels. If you donate blood around the middle of the day, eat some lunch, such as a sandwich and some fruit. Don't get too full, but be sure to eat enough to keep your blood pressure high enough for donation.
  • Do not eat right away before your appointment to reduce the risk of nausea during the blood drive.
  • Avoid fatty foods 24 hours before donating. Increasing the amount of fat in your blood may prevent you from getting accurate results in the mandatory screening tests done after each donation. If the collection center cannot perform all of the tests, it will have to dispose of your blood.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 7

Step 7. Have proper identification

The requirements of each blood collection center may vary, but you will always need at least one piece of identification to donate blood. Usually, this is your driver's license, blood donor card, or 2 other pieces of identification, such as your passport or social security card. Be sure to present them on the day of your appointment.

A blood donor card is a card given to you by the blood collection center which registers you in its system. You can order one online, drop by the center to order, or inquire about it when you donate blood for the first time so that you can have one for subsequent appointments

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 8

Step 8. Avoid certain activities

In the hours leading up to your appointment, you should avoid certain activities that may affect your chances of donating or that may contaminate your blood. You must not smoke within an hour of your appointment. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks 24 hours before.

  • Chewing on a gum or sucking on a candy causes your mouth to heat up, which can make you feel like you have a fever and make you ineligible to donate blood. However, these effects wear off in 5 minutes.
  • If you donate platelets, you should avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for 2 days before the donation.

Part 2 of 2: Donate blood

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 9

Step 1. Fill out the forms

When you arrive for the appointment, you will first need to answer many questions about your general health and possibly complete a confidential medical history form. The types of questions you will be asked vary depending on where you live, but you should be prepared to name at least all of the medications you are currently taking and all of the places you have traveled in the past 3 years..

  • In many countries, blood collection centers are governed by strict guidelines for blood quality. Public safety comes first and if a behavior, disease or medication increases the risk of contamination or transmission of a potential disease, you are asked not to donate. This is not about discrimination.
  • Thus, certain activities that increase the risk of blood-borne diseases will be investigated. These include intravenous drug use, certain sexual activities, taking certain medications, and life in certain countries. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may not be able to donate blood.
  • There are also diseases like hepatitis, HIV, AIDS or Chagas disease that make it impossible to donate blood.
  • Answer all interview questions honestly. They can be about sensitive topics, but you need to be honest so that the center can know whether or not it is possible to use your blood.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 10

Step 2. Take the physical exam

Once you have completed all parts of the questionnaire, you will undergo a small physical exam. Usually this includes taking your blood pressure, checking your pulse, and having a nurse measure your body temperature. The nurse will then give you a small prick on your finger to check your hemoglobin and iron levels.

Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, hemoglobin, and iron levels must be within healthy ranges before you are allowed to donate blood. This is to ensure the quality of your blood and to prevent you from becoming anemic after the donation

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 11

Step 3. Prepare yourself mentally

Most people who donate blood are afraid of needles or don't like having one in their arm. You can distract yourself or prepare yourself before it happens to make your job easier. Look away from the needle and take a deep breath before it sinks. You can also pinch your arm without donating blood to create a distraction.

  • Don't hold your breath. Otherwise, you may pass out.
  • Rest assured, most people experience little or no pain, most often just a pinch. The real problem is discomfort, so the less you stiffen up the better.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 12

Step 4. Have your blood drawn

When you have completed your physical exam, the nurse will ask you to lie down on a lounge chair or lie down completely. A cuff will be placed around your arm to make your veins easier to find and to make the process faster. The nurse will clean the inside of your elbow where the needle will be placed. She will then insert the needle attached to a long tube into your arm. Finally, she will ask you to pump your hand a few times and your blood will start to come out.

  • The nurse will take a few vials first for testing, and then your blood will fill the bag. Usually, you can only donate 500 ml of blood at a time.
  • The process usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.
Prepare to Donate Blood Step 13

Step 5. Relax

Nervousness can also lower your blood pressure and make you feel dizzy. Talk to the person who takes your blood if it helps you feel better. Ask him to explain everything he does to you.

Look for ways to distract yourself, such as singing a song, reciting something, contemplating the end of a book you are reading or a TV series you are watching, listening to your electronic device, or reflecting on the benefits. of your donation to the community

Prepare to Donate Blood Step 14

Step 6. Rest

After you have finished donating blood and the nurse bandages your arm, you will be asked to sit down and wait for about 15 minutes to be sure you are not at risk of passing out or having dizziness. You will also receive a snack and fruit juice to help keep you hydrated and raise your blood sugar levels. The nurse will also advise you to avoid certain things for the rest of the day and to stay hydrated for the next 48 hours.

  • You should not be doing any weight training or strenuous activity for the rest of the day.
  • If you experience dizziness later in the day, lie down with your feet elevated.
  • Leave the dressing in place 4 to 5 hours after your donation. If it is badly damaged, apply a cold compress. If you are in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever medicine to relieve the pain.
  • If you feel ill for an extended period of time after your visit, call your doctor to make sure you are not at risk.


  • Bring a large bottle of orange juice with you. It will allow you to regain your strength quickly after donating blood.
  • Lie flat when you donate blood. This helps reduce blood pressure and dizziness, especially if this is the first time for you.
  • Once you understand the process, learn more about donating platelets. It takes longer to donate platelets, but you can save your red blood cells. Platelets are the cause of blood clotting and are a vital product used to treat critically ill patients.
  • If you feel weak, tell the medical staff. They will help you to lie down on the chair. If you've already left the blood center, put your head between your knees to increase blood flow to your brain, or lie down and elevate your legs if you can. You can prevent the risk of discomfort by taking the time to rest in the clinic, drinking the fluids recommended by the nurse, and eating the snacks provided.
  • Note that you must know your blood type before you donate. Negative people can give to positive people, while positive people cannot give to negative people. Make sure the recipient has markers in your blood. For example, an A + that gives blood to an AB + is acceptable, which is not not the case of a B- which gives an A-.

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