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Donating Blood: the easiest way to save 3 lives

Friday 2nd Mar 2018

So you’re considering the excellent decision to donate blood.  You already know you want to save lives, you may have heard that donations last just 42 days, and now you’re wondering just what’s involved in giving us 500mls of the red stuff.

The good news is, once you’ve booked your appointment, all you have to do is show up and relax for a little while in one of our comfy chairs. There are some simple ways to look after yourself before and after donating. First amongst them, in the immortal words of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is “Don’t Panic!”

Essentially, all your preparation comes down to; drink, eat, relax, eat, drink, relax.

Before your donation

The key word of the day is ‘hydrate’. If you’re donating plasma or platelets, you should knock back at least 3 large glasses of water in the 3 hours before your appointment. For a whole blood donation, have 2 large glasses of water in the 3 hours prior, and another 2 glasses when you arrive. All that fluid means your veins will be easy for us to find, and your donation should flow easily.

Eat something salty in the 24 hours before. Increasing your salt intake will help you restore your blood volume more rapidly after you donate. You lose about three grams of salt with each donation, so this is your chance to eat something salty, like chips or pretzels.

Once you’re hydrated and well-fed, grab your ID, make a list of all the medications you are currently taking, and get thee to the donor centre. Then comes the ‘relax’ part, where you sit back and let us take care of you while you save lives.

After you donate

It’s time to top up your food and drink stores again. Drink at least 3 large glasses of water and enjoy some snacks in our refreshment area before you head back out into the world a lifesaving superhero.

After that, just take it easy for a little while. Avoid smoking for at least two hours and put off your gym session until tomorrow. Try not to stand for long periods, or overheat in a hot shower or direct sun. Save your celebratory drinks for the next day, and you should be feeling good!

If you feel unwell after you donate, or have any questions, just call us on 13 14 95.


The final step is easy: congratulate yourself on becoming a bloody legend!  Doesn’t that sound easy? So take the next step, make an appointment.