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How to Prepare for a Blood Donation

Recently, the need for blood donors has been on the rise. Donating blood is a great way to help and give back to your community. Learn how to prepare for a blood donation in the days leading up to it, so it goes as smoothly as possible.

Blood Donation Prep

Today I am going to share with you how to prepare for a whole blood donation. According to Mayo Clinic, this is the most common type in which you donate about a pint of blood. It is then separated into its components – red cells, plasma, and platelets.

To donate blood you must be 16 or 17, depending on the state, in good health, and at least 110 pounds. You must also pass the physical and health history assessments. This includes a finger prick to determine your iron levels, which need to be high enough to donate. If your iron levels are too low, you cannot donate.

In the days prior to donating, drink a lot of fluids, water in particular. Eat healthy the day before and of your donation, and get good sleep the night before. If you are on your period, you are still able to donate if your iron levels are not too low.

If you are worried about maintaining healthy iron levels, take a supplement and eat iron-rich foods. These include broccoli, red meats, turkey, spinach, sweet potatoes, beans, eggs, shrimp… the list is very long. For a complete iron-rich food guide visit the Red Cross website.

After You Donate

After your blood donation, continue to drink a lot of water and eat iron-rich foods. The Mayo Clinic recommends you avoid strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting for at least 5 hours after you donate. Keep your bandage on and dry for the 5 hours afterward as well.

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