Blood Donation: What to do Before, During, and After

Blood Donation: What to do Before, During, and After

To be able to help another with something so important is a gratifying sensation. Blood cannot be created synthetically, which is why it must be gathered through voluntary donors. Every June 14th, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. An event dedicated to thank every unpaid volunteer donor and raise awareness of the need to make regular blood donations.

The slogan of this year World Blood Donor Day is: “Be there for someone. Give blood. Share life”, a campaign to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood, and to motivate people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people.

According to the WHO, World Health Organization, these donations provide hope and a higher quality of life for patients with lethal diseases.


It also makes it possible to perform certain medical procedures and complex surgeries. However, in approximately 45 countries – including Mexico – the demand is higher than the supply.

Many people get anxious simply by considering the idea. With this information, we would like to give you advice on how to prepare your body for a successful donation, and to avoid possible adverse reactions.

How Do I Know if I Can Donate Blood?

You can be a blood donor if you are:

  • Healthy.
  • Between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • Weighing over 50 kilos (for women) over 55 kilos (for men).
  • Do not have any infections.
  • Have not been vaccinated recently.

If you meet these requirements, generally, you will need to fast for about 4 hours. Go to the clinic completely rested, having had at least six hours of sleep. It is recommended to not drink alcohol during the 72 hours leading up to the donation, and to carry an official form of identification with you.

You will then be interviewed in order to rule out any impediments, such as the consumption of certain medications, simple diseases that could prevent being able to donate, or very “thin” veins.

They will take a blood sample from you that will be analyzed to rule out any latent conditions, like anemia, that could make donating impossible. If the blood is eligible, you will then be called to continue extraction.

During the Donation Process

The donor will go to a designated space and he or she will sit on a reclinable couch, where a needle attached to a bag next to the couch will be placed. The staff at the blood bank will be supervising the entire time.

Any discomfort, dizziness, and/or pain must be reported immediately. About 400-450 milliliters are extracted from the five liters of blood that circulate throughout our bodies. This quantity will not interfere with the body’s functioning. The donation procedure lasts from 12 to 18 minutes; a short time, and the benefits it brings to whomever needs a  blood transfusion are great.

Finalizing the Donation Process

After the extraction, it is advised that the donor keeps the arm extended and facing upwards, to avoid hematomas. In various establishments, the donor is offered a snack that must be consumed as soon as the procedure is over. If, during this time, he or she feels good, the donor can go. It is recommended to not exert physical effort in the next 24 hours.

The volume of extracted blood is regained in a lapse of 2 to 3 weeks. Abundant liquids must be consumed, as well as a balanced diet. Avoid:

  • Smoking.
  • Carrying weights.
  • Consuming alcohol.
  • Performing tasks that require great physical effort.

Take into Consideration

You must let approximately two months go by before donating again. Not all blood donations can transfuse to any patient. However, there is one kind of blood that everyone can receive: O-, and it is the most demanded in medical centers and blood banks.

Group Whom It Can Donate to From Whom It Can Receive
A+ Can donate to A+ and AB+ Can receive from A± and
A- Can donate to A± and AB± Can receive from A- and O-
B+ Can donate to B+ and AB+ Can receive from B± and
B- Can donate to B± and AB± Can receive from B- and O-
AB+ Can donate to AB+ Universal Receptor
AB Can donate to AB± Can receive from A-, B-, AB- and O-
O+ Can donate to A+, B+, AB+ and O+ Can receive from O±
O Universal Donor Can receive from O-

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