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Donating Blood 101: What You Need to Know

Donating Blood 101: What You Need to Know Can

The Basics

The different methods of blood donation include whole blood, power blood, platelet, and plasma. Donating whole blood takes about one hour and can be used to help trauma patients and people undergoing surgery.

There are many emotional and physical health benefits, including a free health screening that checks your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin levels.

Preparing for Your Appointment

The first step to donating blood is first finding out if you meet the eligibility requirements.

According to the American Red Cross,

  • In most states, you must be 17 or older to donate whole blood. You must weigh at least 110 lbs. and be in good health — that means you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes and you want to donate blood, it’s important that you are being treated and the condition is under control.

Once it’s determined that you’re eligible to donate, the next step is to find a local blood drive or donation center. You can find future blood drives at

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Bring a government-issued photo ID
  • Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before
  • Eat a well-balanced meal
  • Choose to eat lean proteins (lean meat, cheese, and yogurt) or complex carbohydrates (bread, cereal, and fruit) and avoid fatty foods
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to stay hydrated
  • Be in general good health
  • If you’re not feeling well on the day of your donation, try to reschedule your appointment.

You’ve Donated Blood, Now What?

After donating, it’s important to rest for a few minutes and follow all instructions provided by your blood collector. To prevent a drop in your blood pressure, drink plenty of fluids and fuel your body with a nutrient-rich snack. Continue to drink hydrating fluids such as water or sports drinks and avoid doing any vigorous exercise over the next 24 hours.

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