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How to feel great when you donate

Happy donor

Thank you for being a blood donor. What you do saves lives.
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous before a donation. To help you stay well and enjoy this special day, just follow these tips for before, during and after your donation.



Before your appointment

Drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours before your donation, especially in warm weather. On the day of your donation, make sure you have enough time and don't feel rushed.

Remember to be RED!

Rest: Have a good night’s sleep before and refrain from strenuous exercises before your donation day

Eat: Have something savoury or salty to eat in the 3 hours before your donation

Drink: For a plasma or platelet donation, have 3 large glasses of water in the 3 hours prior to your appointment. For whole blood donation, have two large glasses of water in the 3 hours prior, and another two glasses when you arrive.

Unlike a blood test, you can eat and drink as much as you like before you come to donate.



You get to relax while doing it

  • Once you’ve signed in at reception, grab a seat and relax. Read, listen to music or use our free Wi-Fi.
  • If you feel nervous or have any concerns, tell one of our friendly staff members so we can help you.



Bottle of water

Drink two glasses of water (350-500 ml) after arriving at the donor centre to help prepare your body for the donation.




It’s not as scary as you think

After they’ve donated for the first time, most people realise there was no need to be worried! Each year, around 680,000 Aussies give a blood donation, and the overwhelming majority have a very positive experience. Our procedures are safe, clean, and fast, so try not to worry – you’re in great hands.

It doesn’t hurt

After a brief pinch when the needle goes in, all you should feel is a gentle pressure, never pain. Keep in mind that your discomfort will only last a few seconds, but your donation could benefit someone for a whole lifetime. If the pain doesn’t settle or the needle feels uncomfortable, please let us know immediately.

Most people feel fine

Are you afraid of being embarrassed or uncomfortable? Most donors give blood without any reactions. 

Rarely, some people may feel:

  • dizzy
  • hot or sweaty
  • nauseous
  • weak.

Feeling faint can happen to anyone. However, some people are more like to feel faint than others: young people, women and first-time whole blood or plasma donors are more likely to experience these symptoms.

If you feel unwell at any time before, during or after your donation, or if you experience pain, please tell us immediately so we can look after you.




Tense your muscles

One of the best ways to stay well during and after your donation is to do muscle tensing exercises. These increase your blood pressure which will prevent you from feeling faint.

Do these exercises before the needle goes in or comes out, before getting up, or any time you feel unwell.

  1. Cross your legs.
  2. Squeeze your inner thigh and abdominal muscles.
  3. Stretch your ankles.

Hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds.

Repeat 5 times then switch legs.

Enjoy yourself

A distraction will make your donation more fun and help it fly by. You can watch TV, read, listen to music, talk to a staff member or friend, or use our free Wi-Fi.

Make sure you relax for 5 minutes in the chair before getting up to go to the refreshments area.




Relax for 15 mins

While at the donor centre

  • Have something to drink to replace your fluids.
  • Eat a salty snack.
  • Relax for at least 15-20 minutes after your donation.
  • Avoid standing up for long periods.

Take your time to reduce the chance of feeling unwell or fainting. We can also keep an eye on how you feel after your donation.





  • Drink at least 3 glasses of water in the next 3 hours
  • Keep drinking cool fluids for the rest of the day
  • Eat regular meals.



  • Get overheated (eg avoid hot showers and avoid hot drinks)
  • Rush around or walk for long periods
  • Do strenuous physical exercise
  • Stand up for long periods
  • Drink alcohol.


If you feel unwell at any time after your donation

Lie down or sit down, and start doing muscle tensing exercises. Ask someone for help. If you are driving, pull over, park immediately, and call for assistance. Call us on 13 14 95




Thank you for giving blood and helping to saving three lives. We hope you'll come back and donate again soon.


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