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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 your first donation. To help you stay well and enjoy this special day, just follow these tips for before, during and after your first donation.



Before your appointment

Remember to be RED!

Rest: Have a good night’s sleep before and refrain from physical activity on your donation day

Eat: Have a meal in the 3 hours before your donation

Drink: Have 3 glasses of water or juice in the 3 hours before your donation

Unlike a blood test, eat before you come in!



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 half a bottle of water (250–300ml) 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 127,000 Aussies make their first 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, let us know immediately.

Most people feel fine

Are you afraid of being embarrassed or uncomfortable? More than 90 per cent of all first-time donors give blood without any reactions. Those who react, most of the time, experience only mild faintness or dizziness.

Rarely, some people may feel:

  • Dizzy
  • Hot or sweaty
  • Nauseous
  • Weak

Young people, women and first-time whole blood or plasma donors are more likely to have symptoms – but most donors feel fine.

If you feel unwell at any time before, during or after your donation, or if you experience pain, 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 also help your donation go faster by increasing blood flow.

Do these exercises before the needle goes in or comes out, before getting up, or if you feel dizzy, hot or nauseous.

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

Hold each 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 a few minutes in the chair before getting up to go to the refreshments area.




It only takes about an hour

While at the donor centre

  • Have something to drink to replace your fluids
  • Eat a salty snack
  • Relax for at least 15 minutes after your donation


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
  • Eat regular meals



  • Have a hot shower
  • 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 and tense your legs and abdomen. Let someone nearby know you’re not well and call us on 13 14 95




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