What to Expect When You Donate Blood

what to expect when donating bloodRemember, donating blood can save lives!

Have you ever donated blood? Do you think it’s something you’d be willing to do? January is National Blood Donor month, so what better time to give it a try? According to the American Red Cross, the need for donated blood is constant throughout the year. Having volunteers donate their blood is important for maintaining the nation’s blood supply. And just think…by donating blood, you can save a life!

If you have never donated before, you might feel nervous, or you might be wondering what to expect. Here is a run-down of what happens when you give blood:

Step 1. Registration and Eligibility. Blood drives have registration tables where you will be asked to fill out information forms. These forms help to determine whether you are eligible to donate blood. You will need to bring a driver’s license or other form of photo identification, as well as the names of the medications you are currently taking.

Step 2. Mini-physical. To ensure that you are eligible to donate, a staff member will ask you questions about your health history in a private and confidential interview. During this time, the staff member will check your vital signs, such as temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. The staff member will also take a finger prick sample of your blood to test your hemoglobin level.

Step 3. The donation. During the donation, you will be seated in a comfortable chair. The process is safe and sterile, and takes about 10 minutes. If you are nervous about the needle, the Red Cross offers some advice for getting over your fear of needles. Most people say that after the initial pinch is over, there isn’t any pain or discomfort.

Step 4. Refreshments. It’s a good idea to visit the refreshment area to sit down and have a small snack and a drink after donating blood. You may want to stay in this area for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure you are feeling well. As with all stages of blood donation, there are always nurses available should anyone need one.

In addition to blood donations, there is also the option of donating platelets, red cells or plasma. These donation processes are different, and can take up to 2 hours. As with giving whole blood, the need for these other types of donations is always constant, and the donations can save lives.

The American Red Cross uses the month of January to highlight the generosity of its blood donors. If you are interested in becoming a donor, find out more through the American Red Cross. Most donors agree that knowing they have helped to save a life is very rewarding!

*Information from this article was gathered from the American Red Cross: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/why-donate-blood#what_to_expect.

This article was provided by the Harris School of Business, a career-focused school that specializes in training adults for careers in allied health. By providing articles such as this one, the Harris School wishes to promote public health and increase awareness of public health issues. For more information about the Harris School, visit our home page, or complete our online form.