Occasionally, large bruises may develop after you donate. This may appear some way from the donation site and may not appear until a day or two after you donate. Although bruising can look quite serious, it is usually harmless and disperses with time. It may take up to 2 weeks for it to disappear altogether.

What is bruising?

Bruising is the discolouration that occurs if blood leaks from the vein that is used to collect your donation, into the tissue under the skin

Can bruising be prevented?

  • While bruising can’t always be prevented, the size of a bruise can be minimised by applying pressure over the donation area, until bleeding stops. You should keep your bandage on for 4 hours after you donate.
  • If a bruise occurs during the donation, we will stop the donation to prevent the bruise worsening. If your donation is slower than usual, you are more likely to develop a bruise.Very occasionally, a donor's veins may not be large enough and it may be impossible to proceed with the donation. It is better not to attempt to make a donation in this situation as the risk of severe bruising is high.

What can you do if you develop a bruise?

To help a speedy recovery

  • Don’t lift or carry things with your donation arm over the next hour.
  • Keep the bandage on your arm for the next 4 hours.
  • Use your arm as little as possible and don’t do any heavy lifting for the next 24 hours.
  • To reduce discomfort:
    • Hold a cold pack wrapped in a clean cloth over the bruise. Only do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times in the first 24 hours.
    • After 24 hours, apply a hot pack wrapped in a clean cloth. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3–4 times a day.
    • Use mild pain relievers like paracetamol (not aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen).
  • We recommend gentle movement while the bruise is healing.

If you experience any of the following, you should seek further help

  • severe pain
  • numbness or persistent ‘pins and needles’ in the arm, hand or fingers
  • stiffness in your hand and fingers or if you hand and fingers appear pale or develop a bluish discoloration
  • swelling which is large or increasing in size
  • painful redness or inflammation

If any of these occur, or if you are worried, you can obtain advice from one of our medical officers by calling 13 14 95.

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