Cape Cod Healthcare

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Preparing to Donate Blood

Prior to donating

  • Make sure to sleep well
  • Know what to eat
    • Have a light meal before arriving. Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fats that appear in your blood for several hours after eating fatty foods.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate
    • Drink plenty of fluids the day of your donation. Drink an extra 16 oz. of water and fluids before the donation.
  • Wear comfortable clothing
    • If your shirt or blouse has sleeves, make sure you can roll them up above your elbow.
  • Pay attention to your diet
    • Maintain a healthy level of iron weeks before you donate blood.
  • Know your medications
    • Bring a list of medications you are taking.
  • Bring Identification
    • Bring a blood donor card or a valid picture identification such as a driver’s license.
  • Be relaxed
    • Many people choose not to donate because they are nervous about the needle pricking skin. Ask a friend or family member who donates blood. They will tell you it feels like pinching the fleshy underside of your arm. It’s virtually painless. While it will take a little over an hour, the actual blood draw takes no more than 10 minutes. The rest of the time is registering and relaxing afterwards with a snack and beverage.

After donating

  • Know what to expect: What is normal and what to do if you experience difficulties.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids after you donate blood. Also avoid heavy exercise for a full day.
  • If you feel light-headed, lie down with your feet elevated until it passes.
  • If you don’t feel right after your donation, please call 508-86BLOOD.