Blood Donation

What to do before donating blood, during, and after

Have you wondered, What to do before donating blood?

Here are all the answers you need!

Helping another person with something so important as a blood donation is a gratifying sensation. It is also of grave importance, as blood cannot be created synthetically, which is why it must be collected through voluntary donors. Every year on June 14th, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. This event is dedicated to thank every volunteer donor and raise awareness on the need to make regular blood donations.

The slogan of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is: “Be there for someone. Give blood. Share life”. It’s a campaign to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation. It is also a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood. In addition, it’s a way to urge people in good health who have never donated blood before to begin doing so, particularly young people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these donations provide hope and a higher quality of life for patients with severe and grave diseases.

What to do before donating blood. Blood donation at Hospital CMQ in Puerto Vallarta

Benefits of donating blood

Blood donation is extremely important for medical care. It allows doctors to perform certain medical procedures and complex surgeries. In addition, blood donation can improve a patient’s cardiovascular health, help with obesity, and reduce the risk of damage to the pancreas and the liver.

However, in approximately 45 countries including Mexico, demand is always higher than supply. But why isn’t there enough blood? because most people get anxious by simply considering the idea of donating blood. Therefore, on this article we would like to share with you some useful tips on:

  • What to do before donating blood.
  • What to do during and after blood donation.
  • How to avoid possible adverse reactions.

First of all, lets talk about blood donation requirements

You can donate blood if you meet these blood donation requirements:

  • Being healthy.
  • Age between 18 and 65 years.
  • Do not have any infections.
  • Have not been vaccinated recently.
  • Blood donation weight requirements.-
    • Women: weigh over 110 pounds – 50 kilos.
    • Men: weigh over 121 pounds – 55 kilos.

If you meet these requirements, than you are a good candidate for blood donation!

Now, lets talk about how to donate blood

In order to donate blood, you will need to fast for about 4 hours. Make sure to go to the blood bank completely rested, with at least six hours of good sleep. In addition, you should avoid drinking alcohol in the 72 hours prior to your donation. We also recommend carrying an official ID with you.

Once you arrive at the blood bank, you will be interviewed in order to rule out any impediments, such as the consumption of certain medications, simple diseases and infections, or very “thin” veins.

Finally, if everything goes well, they will take a blood sample from you. After this, your blood sample will be analyzed to rule out any unwanted conditions such as anemia, which could make donating impossible. Ultimately, If your sample is eligible, the blood bank technician will allow you to continue with your blood donation.

Blood donation guidelines

During your blood donation, you will go to a blood bank donor room and will sit on a comfortable couch. A lab technician will clean your arm with an antiseptic solution. Following this, he will use a blood donation kit to draw blood from one of your arm’s veins. This whole process will take about ten minutes and you will donate one unit of blood. Accordingly, professional medical staff will be monitoring your blood donation the entire time.

It’s important that you report immediately any discomfort, dizziness, and/or pain. Only about 400 milliliters will be extracted from the five liters of blood that circulate throughout your body. Fortunately, this small amount of blood will not interfere with your body’s normal functions. As you can see, blood donation is quite simple and short, but its benefits are tremendous for patients who are in need of a blood transfusion.

You might also be wondering, what to do after blood donation?

After your blood donation, you should keep your arm extended and facing upwards, to avoid swelling, pain or bruising. Most likely, you will be offered a snack that you should eat as soon as the procedure is over. Subsequently, if you feel good and strong, the laboratory technician will let you go home. Once you are home, you should avoid performing any physical activity in the next 24 hours after your donation.

Your blood levels will get back to normal after two or three weeks. Therefore, to help your body to recover, you should drink abundant water and maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Moreover, during this time period you should avoid:

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

A final question might be: How often can you donate blood?

You can donate blood approximately every two months. Depending on your blood type, your blood will be useful for some patients but might not work for others. In this sense, it’s worth noting that the only blood type that works for anyone who needs a blood transfusion, is O- (O negative). Consequently, it is the most useful and demanded blood type in blood banks across the world.

Blood Donation Chart

People with this blood type

Can donate to

And can receive blood from

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-