Most everyone knows or have at least heard of the benefits of donating blood. There’s a large portion of the population that wants to donate blood but is afraid to take that first step because they simply don’t know what to expect. It’s a reasonable fear because most of our first experience with giving blood was at the doctors office when were young and that’s where we learned needles can hurt! Today, we thought we would share what to expect on you first time donating blood and suggestions on how to prepare.
First step is to find a local blood donation center near you. A quick visit to the internet will give you blood banks and blood donation centers in your area.
Once you have found a place, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Make sure you have a light meal and drink plenty of fluids before going. For most places, you will need to bring your donor’s card, driver’s license or two forms of identification. Have a list of all of the current medications you are taking as well.
While some donation centers may vary on the procedure, here’s a basic rundown on what to expect.
This is where a volunteer or member of the staff will have you register and go over basic eligibility and donation information. Note you will need to present identification so be sure to have it handy.
Before giving blood, there will be a short review of your medical history and places you’ve traveled. The staff will most likely check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin level in a sample of blood.
The actual donation takes around 8-10 minutes. The staff do a great job to make sure you are seated and comfortable. Volunteers are always on hand if you have any questions or concerns. The amount of blood is usually approximately one pint. Note there are special donations, such as platelets, red cells, or plasma which can take up to two hours.
It’s recommended to have a small snack and something to drink after donating in the refreshment area. They will normally want you to stay about 10 or 15 minutes before continuing your day. The body normally replenishes the volume of fluid within a few hours.
That’s all there is to it! Once you get the first time out of the way, you will most likely return again and again. Most centers will track the amount of blood you’ve given and give special rewards for certain milestones. In the end, your greatest reward is realizing you may have helped to save a life in the process.