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About Donating Blood & FAQs

How do I prepare for my donation?

  • A few days before donating, eat nutritious meals that contain iron-rich foods PDF.
  • The day before donation, drink plenty of fluids and get a good night’s sleep.
  • The day of donation, drink non-caffeinated beverages such as water or juice and do not skip any meals.

Will it hurt when I donate?

Most donors feel a slight “pinch” or “bee sting” sensation when the needle is first inserted. Some even say that the finger prick to check their iron level hurts more than the needle stick to draw the blood. You do not feel the blood being drawn as you donate.

How long will it take?

The duration depends on the type of donation you plan to give. In general:
  • Whole blood donation can take up to one hour
  • Platelet donation can take 90 - 120 minutes
  • Double red cell donation can take 80 - 100 minutes
The duration will also depend on how long it takes to complete the Medical History form and the number of donors waiting to be seen.  For these reasons, we encourage donors to schedule appointments.

How will I feel after I donate?

Most donors report feeling fine after giving blood. Some of our apheresis donors even report feeling better after their donation! There are some instances in which donors can feel faint or weak after a donation, but once replenished with juice/water and cookies they report feeling much better! We highly encourage donors to remain in our care for at least 10-15 minutes after donation, eat the refreshments provided, refrain from strenuous activity for at least four (4) hours after donating and inform their donor specialist if they do not feel well or are experiencing pain or discomfort.

How much blood will you take?

Of the 10-12 pints of blood the average person’s body contains, we only draw one unit for a whole blood donation. With apheresis donations, it will vary based on the customized donation.

Can I still donate if I have diabetes?

If your diabetes is under control then yes, you can donate. For most medical conditions, please refer to our Eligibility Requirements or contact our Donor Advocate at 571-434-3628.

Can I get HIV/AIDS or any other diseases from donating blood?

No, you cannot get HIV/AIDS or any other bloodborne or infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, from donating blood. All of the equipment used for our blood donation process is sterile, single-use and disposable. We discard all of these materials after they are used on each donor. There is no danger of contracting any infectious disease by donating blood.