Congratulations! So you’re ready to give blood. Follow the guidelines below for a successful and rewarding blood donation experience.
Can I Donate?
You will probably meet the medical requirements to donate blood if you are in good health, at least 16 or 17 years old (depending on your state) and weigh at least 110 pounds.
Some conditions may prevent you from donating blood temporarily, while others may permanently exclude you from donating blood. Below are some of the reasons you may not be able to donate today.
- Hemoglobin or Hematocrit level is below what's safe for blood donation
- Blood pressure or pulse is too high or low
- If you are under treatment for a variety of illnesses like cancer, heart disease or certain blood diseases
- Tattoos from a non-licensed / regulated facility
- Body piercings
- Cold or flu
- Had a recent blood transfusion
- HIV / AIDS
- Certain international travel
- Organ / tissue transplants
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- If you are taking certain medications
*If you have any question about your eligibility please contact your local blood center and do not assume you cannot donate*
Before You Go
Thanks for deciding to donate blood! Before going to your local community blood center, be sure:
- to get a good night's sleep
- to eat a well-balanced meal
- to drink plenty of water, as hydration is very important
- to bring a government issued state I.D. (drivers license, passport, DMV I.D. card, etc.) or your school photo I.D.
- you are at least 16 or 17-years old depending on your state
- you are in general good health
At the Blood Center
- Registration - Once you arrive at the blood center or blood drive, staff will check you in and provide an overview of eligibility requirements and information on the blood donation process.
- Donor Health History Questionnaire - Complete the confidential questionnaire that will be provided, answering each question honestly and to the best of your ability.
- Mini-physical Examination - Staff will take your blood pressure, temperature, and hemoglobin levels and possibly your pulse to ensure your safety as a blood donor.
- The actual blood donation process will take about 10 minutes.
- Make sure to relax during this process.
- Try Applied Muscle Tension during the donation - This simple technique consists of tightening the muscles of one region of your body, silently counting to five while contracting the muscles, then releasing the contraction and counting to five again.
- Once the blood donation is complete, please wait for staff to assist you before attempting to rise from the donor bed or chair.
- Follow staff instructions and proceed to the refreshment area for water and snacks.
- Drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration and remain in the refreshment area for at least 15 minutes.
- Make sure the next meal you eat is healthy and well balanced.
- Follow the blood center's additional instructions on how to take care of yourself after your donation.
- Do not smoke.
- Now that you're finished, don't forget to schedule your next blood donation and enjoy the satisfaction of helping to save a life!