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What happens when you give blood

Every day more than 5,000 Australians give blood at an Australian Red Cross Blood Service donor centre. It's your chance to relax, be pampered, enjoy a free snack – and feel great knowing that you're saving lives.

Before you donate

  • It's important that you look after your health on the day of your donation. In particular, make sure you drink lots of water and get plenty to eat.
  • If you're going to donate soon, read about what to do before and after you donate.


  • Arrive at the donor centre to a friendly welcome from our reception staff member. They'll greet you and quickly check your valid ID.
  • Fill out the health questionnaire they give you. It's completely confidential and there to protect you and the person who receives your blood.


  • A trained staff member will go over your questionnaire answers with you and ask some questions to check that you're fine to donate.
  • They'll give you a 'finger prick' test to check your level of haemoglobin (a protein which contains iron) and test your blood pressure.


  • Sit back and relax on a comfy couch while you donate. You can read, chat with our team members or just enjoy some uninterrupted TV time.
  • We'll keep a close eye on you while you're donating to make sure you're OK. Talk to a staff member if you feel uncomfortable or worried. How we protect your health when you donate.

Relax and refresh

  • After your donation's finished, rest on the couch for at least 5-10 minutes.
  • When you're done with the couch, head to the refreshments area and relax for at least another 15 minutes with a complimentary cool drink and savoury snack. This is the best part!
  • Have a drink on us – grab a free water or sports drink to take with you. Drink it over the next hour to stay hydrated.

How long does donating blood take?

  • Whole blood donations take 5-15 minutes, and the whole appointment one hour.
  • Plasma or platelets donations take 45 minutes, and the whole appointment takes one and a half hours.

After you donate

  • Most people feel absolutely fine after donating blood. In fact, you're likely to feel pretty good about yourself.
  • Even if you feel great, it's important that you look after yourself for the next 12 hours by following the steps for after you donate.