Preparing Yourself to Donate Blood

Preparing Yourself to Donate Blood

The Procedure

  • Go to a blood bank or blood drive near you.
  • Present your ID and fill in the required questionnaire. 
  • The lab technician will ask you a few questions and then will test your blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin level.
  • The donation process only takes about 8 to 12 minutes.
  • When you’re finished, you will be offered juice and cookies as refreshments. Eat. Drink. Relax. Feel awesome about saving lives.

Before Donating Blood

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat well. Avoid fatty meals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol and an excess of caffeine (tea, coffee).
  • Wear loose clothes (with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow).
  • Identify the “good veins” if you are a regular blood donor.
  • Bring an MP3 player or a friend to support you. 
  • Review your medical, body piercing, and travel history to avoid any delays in the process.
  • Remember to bring your ID card.

Possible Side Effects

Most people feel absolutely fine after donating blood, both physically and mentally! However, for some donors, minor side effects may sometimes occur:

  • Dizziness or malaise: Don’t worry. Just inform the medical personnel nearby, lie down, and raise your legs if you can. When you’re ready, get up slowly and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Bruising at the site of the needle prick: it is usually harmless and heals in a few days. Consider it an outward sign of the awesome thing you just did for your fellow human beings. If anyone asks, tell them you got it being a superhero.

After Donating Blood

  • Donate and chill. Do not rush to leave. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids after the procedure has been completed.
  • Apply pressure on the needle site for at least 5 minutes after you're done donating. 
  • Avoid smoking for at least 2 hours after donating. 
  • Do not work out (i.e., lift heavy objects or engage in vigorous exercise) for at least 24 hours after donating. (You have our permission to skip leg day, you awesome human being, you.)

Who Can Give Blood?

  • Age: 18 to 65 years old. If you are more than 65 years of age, your eligibility to donate is determined by your overall health.
  • Weight: on average, men must weigh at least 60 kg, and women must be a minimum of 50 kg.
  • If you are feeling well and display no signs of infection.
  • You can give blood every 56 days, up to 4 times a year for women and 5 times a year for men.

Who Can't Give Blood?

Although most people are eligible for blood donation, it is not the case for everyone. There are many reasons why you might not be able to donate, but these reasons fall into two main categories: 

  1. Risks to your health, and 
  2. Risks to the health of the recipient. 

We understand that it can be very disappointing if you are unable to give blood. However, it is our moral and ethical duty to ensure your safety and the safety of the patient. We know you get that. And we appreciate it. 


Check out the list below to see what can make a potential donor ineligible. If you’re not eligible to donate blood, don’t feel bad. Just check out our Get Involved page for other ways to support the cause. There are plenty of other ways to be a hero.

You should NOT give blood if:

  • You have already donated blood 5 times this year.
  • You have undergone an operation less than 6 months ago.
  • You have ongoing liver, lung, thyroid, or heart disease.
  • You have recently lost weight or have noted a persistent rise in your temperature with no apparent cause.
  • You have had a fever, a cough, a runny nose, or sneezing in the last days or so.
  • You have taken aspirin or antibiotics in the past week.
  • You currently have or have had diarrhea within the last week.
  • You have ingested or injected narcotics (drugs).
  • You have tested positive at any time for malaria.
  • You have tested positive for HIV at any time, or you think you might be at risk.
  • You have had a past history of any type of blood or organ-related cancer.
  • You have had a vaccination (e.g., flu, chicken pox, hepatitis) within the past month.
  • You have a blood-borne disease (e.g., thalassemia, hemophilia).
  • You present occasional epileptic seizures.
  • You have donated platelets less than 48 hours ago.
  • You have gotten a piercing or a tattoo within the past year.
  • You have had a needle or razorblade accident with foreign blood within the past year.
  • You have had unprotected sexual activity with multiple partners.
  • You are a man who has had sex with another man within the last year (even if protected).
  • You are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 (with limitations).
  • You are pregnant or have given birth in the last 9 months.
  • You have a manifesting allergy.
  • You have had dental work in the last week or so.
  • You have received blood transfusions during your lifetime.
  • You have ever visited countries in South Asia (especially India) and central Africa. Contact us to find out if your specific travel history makes you ineligible to donate.
  • You traveled to England during the early 1990s.