What You Should Know Before Donating Blood
A doctor holding up donated blood.

What You Should Know Before Donating Blood

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Donating blood is an opportunity to save a life. There are a few things you should keep in mind beforehand to ensure that you’re donating safely and easily.

What you do before and after donating is crucial to your health. So here are a few tips to keep in mind before you begin the registration process:

Maintain Iron Levels

Iron is vital to your blood since it helps the process to transmit oxygen in the blood to the lungs and tissues. Therefore, maintaining your iron levels is crucial if you’re thinking about donating blood. Try to eat a diet consisting of spinach, red meats, fish, poultry and beans.


If possible, try to drink an additional 16 oz. of water before donating. This helps to keep you hydrated and will prevent you from getting light-headed during the process. It also enhances blood circulation to help the blood flow easily.

The Meal Before

If you are grabbing a bite to eat before your donation, try to steer clear of fatty foods such as burgers, fries or ice cream. The fattier the food, the harder it is to detect infectious diseases within the blood and therefore it won’t be used for transfusion purposes.


Try to wear something with short sleeves or a shirt that allows the sleeve to be raised above the elbow.

Foods After Donating

Most times, snacks are provided in a refreshment area of the donation site. Feel free to grab something to eat and drink before going back to your normal routine.

Activities After Donation

Try to refrain from heavy lifting and challenging exercises after your donation process. Try to keep the bandage on for several hours- do not remove it immediately after!

If the needle site begins to bleed, apply pressure and raise your arm up in the air for 5-10 minutes or until the bleeding subsides.


Drink four (8 oz.) glasses of water to help rehydrate your body. Stay away from alcohol for the next 24-hours.