What happens when you give blood?
Before donating, you are encouraged to eat iron-rich foods, such as beef, poultry, raisins or spinach. Drinking water about 30 minutes before giving blood has been found to improve the experience. Donors should remember to bring valid photo identification to their donation site.
Once you arrive, you will answer donor questions, some about your health, and provide information such as your name and address. You will then undergo a mini-physical to ensure that you're healthy enough to give blood. This exam includes checking your temperature, blood pressure, pulse and iron level. The average screening time is about 20 minutes, pending no medical complications.
Why give blood?
Most blood donated to the Oklahoma Blood Institute stays in Oklahoma. Every hospital in the Oklahoma City metro area and another 130 hospitals around the state use donated blood for things like newborns facing medical issues, victims of trauma accidents, cancer patients and people undergoing surgery.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute tries to keep a three-day blood supply. The holidays and other times of the year when people leave town, like spring break, make that harder to do.
For a car accident trauma patient, a hospital could use up to 50 units of blood. Each unit is about a pint.
Does giving blood hurt?
It can. A medical professional will prick your finger during the mini-physical. After your physical, a phlebotomist will place a 16-gauge needle in your arm during the actual blood donation. Both of these things can hurt, but it's largely dependent on a person's pain tolerance.
While giving blood, if you experience pain or tingling longer than 30 seconds, you should alert someone on the medical staff.
How long does it take to
After giving blood, you're encouraged to eat a snack. It's recommended that you refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous physical work for 24 hours. It's important to listen to your body the next day, especially if you start feeling unusual. You're encouraged to drink plenty of fluids after giving blood.
What are the risk factors?
Some donors will feel lightheaded. If a person is going to have a reaction, it's typically going to happen during the time span they're giving blood. Some people might have a bruise. Reactions such as fainting are rare, but can happen.
Is there any sort of follow-up procedure?
There isn't a follow-up procedure required for giving blood. Generally, people can give blood every 56 days.