Wellness

Five Simple Ways to Prepare for Giving Blood

Jan 14 • 2016

Did you know that one in three people will need blood in their lifetime? Donating blood is a great way to help someone in need and can be a simple process if you are prepared. There is always a demand for blood to help people who have chronic diseases, live in areas impacted by natural disasters, and a variety of other reasons. Here are five easy things you can do before giving blood, to make sure the process goes smoothly.

  1. Eat healthy.
    Before you plan to donate, be sure you’ve eaten a healthy meal. Skip out on foods that contain a lot of fat as they can impact the tests to determine whether you are eligible to donate. Additionally, choose iron-rich foods like fish, eggs, raisins, spinach, or bananas.
  2. Drink water.
    Make sure to drink an additional 16 ounces of water on top of the recommended half gallon per day. Avoid any alcoholic fluids.
  3. Sleep well.
    A good night’s sleep always makes you feel better, but it is even more important when you’re donating blood. If you are feeling tired, it is more likely you won’t feel well while you are donating and after you’re done.
  4. Dress appropriately.
    Consider wearing short sleeves or sleeves that are easy to roll up above the elbow. This way the person who is taking your blood can easily access the necessary veins and you’ll be more comfortable during the process.
  5. Bring the proper paperwork.
    In order to move things along quickly, be sure to bring your donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification. If you are on any medications, bring a list of the names of medications you are on so you can inform the person who takes your blood.

January is National Blood Donor Month, so if you’ve been thinking about donating but haven’t done so, now is a great time to start. Feel free to speak with your doctor about any questions you may have about giving blood, or check the eligibility requirements for any issues that may prevent you from being able to donate.