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Tips for Acing Your Blood Donation

January 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm

According to the American Red Cross…
Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
This means about 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.

Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate,
less than 10% actually do each year.

Am I eligible to donate?

This can only mean one thing – more people need to get out and donate! There are many reasons why eligible people don’t donate – fear of needles, feeling weak, and passing out are just a few. If you are eligible to donate blood, these tips are for you! Follow these and you’ll be sure to ace your blood donation!

Prepare to donate…

  • Call first. Find a donation center near you and make an appointment. Trust us, it will be quicker this way.
  • Eat a healthy, iron rich diet. Poultry, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and peas all have tons of iron in them. The American Red Cross gives a complete list of iron rich foods. Keep in mind fatty foods consumed before donating may interfere with your blood tests – and therefore may not be used in a transfusion.
  • Get sleep! The better you sleep, the stronger your body is. The stronger your body is, the easier you will be able to donate blood.
  • Drink extra water. Before you donate blood, drink at least 16 oz. of additional water or other non-alcoholic beverage. Hydration is key! 

And we’re off!

  • Arrive prepared. You will need your donor card and a driver’s license or two other forms of ID.
  • Wear the right stuff. Wearing a short sleeved shirt or one which can be easily rolled up will make you look like a pro.
  • Relax (if you can). Listen to music, meditate, read, talk to other donors, etc. If you’re relaxed, everyone’s life is easier.
  • Snack it up. Have a snack and a drink in the waiting room before you leave. Don’t leave if you’re feeling dizzy – you’re in safe hands and they’ll know how to help you.

After crossing the finish line…

  • Take it easy. Don’t do any exercise, heavy lifting, or strenuous work for the rest of the day – easy peasy!
  • Refuel with the good stuff. Eat healthy foods and drink extra water to refuel your body. Wait, you do this everyday – right?
  • Remove the bandage. A few hours after you’re finished donating, take whatever bandage they gave you off. If you forget, try and remember to take it off before bed. You want that area to breathe overnight!
  • Plan ahead. Schedule an appointment for next time. The Red Cross recommends waiting at least 8 weeks before donating again. Saving lives has never been so easy!

Still hesitant to donate blood? Break out the tissues and read these amazing stories told by people who are alive today because of blood donations.

Happy National Blood Donor Month!

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