What's it Like ... to give blood?

The Oklahoman health reporter Jaclyn Cosgrove explains what it's like to undergo common medical procedures.
BY JACLYN COSGROVE jcosgrove@opubco.com Published: March 18, 2012

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 recover?

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.

Source: Leslie Gamble, director of community relations at the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and Dustin Conover, director of fixed-site operations at the Oklahoma Blood Institute