What to Expect from a Typical Whole Blood Donation
Preparation for giving blood
Please be sure to eat at your regular mealtime and drink plenty of fluids. We recommend that you not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin, for at least 72 hours before you are donating blood.
Before donating blood some basic information such as your name, address and age is recorded. A medical checkup is done, where your pulse, blood pressure and temperature is also checked. Blood is analyzed for hemoglobin content.
The procedure is done by a skilled, specially trained technician and takes seven to ten minutes. There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain during the donation. The materials, including the needle used for your donation, should be new, sterile, disposable and used only once by you for your blood donation.
You should rest a bit after the donation and have some refreshments.
After Donating Blood
You can resume full activity as long as you feel well. Just avoid lifting, pushing or picking up heavy objects for at least four or five hours after giving blood. After donating, drink lots of fluids for the next 48 hours.
Your body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells need about four to eight weeks for complete replacement. You can donate whole blood every 90 days and you can also donate specific life–saving blood components besides whole blood.
After donation, your blood will be tested for blood type, hepatitis, HIV (the AIDS virus), HTLV (Human T–cell Lymphotropic Virus), and Syphilis. Then it can be used either as whole blood for one patient or, after separation into components, to help several patients.