Donating Blood For The First Time? 8 Things You Should Know!

​1. A “whole blood donation” is about 1 pint of blood and only takes about 10 -15 minutes.

Some people think that donating blood takes hours, nope! The actual process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and during a standard donation they only take one pint of blood which is the same size as a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Maybe you can eat one after you donate.

2. They will turn you away if you have low iron

Low iron is mostly common in women. “Iron is needed for your body to produce hemoglobin. This is important because the hemoglobin in your red blood cells carries the oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body” ( so if you come into the donation center with low iron they will turn you away after it’s tested. To avoid this, try to stock up on iron rich foods like red meats, grains, and fruits. Don’t worry vegetarians, Tofu actually carries 4 ounces of iron!

3. The needle prick only hurts for a second

Even though the needle chills out in your vein for a while, sucking your blood like a mini vampire bat, it doesn’t actually hurt. Once the needle is in, you can barely feel it. If you need them to, the nurse will cover it up so you can’t even see it. If you are still a little scared ask for a count down, curl your toes, and close your eyes before the nurse pokes you!

4. Those tubes that the blood runs through get pretty warm

Whenever you get over the needle prick, you might think you are in the clear of feeling anxious, but you might get one more round of that anxiety when the blood starts running through the tubes. The normal temperature for blood is about 98.6, and in a 70-degree donation center, that's pretty warm. Be prepared for the heat! Some people get really hot while they donate! Just think about that Ben and Jerry’s date you have after.  

5. Everyone has a different reaction

Some people can donate a full pint of blood just fine, and can leave the donation center skipping down the street, others. . . not so much. Some get a little hot, some get cold, some start sweating or start to feel dizzy. In extreme circumstances, it is even possible for people to pass out or throw up. I have left the donation center skipping, and I have thrown up before. Every person and every time is different, just make sure you eat something, are hydrated, and don’t leave the center until you are comfortable.

6. Every 2 seconds someone needs blood

Blood cannot be manufactured in a lab (yet), so the only way hospitals can obtain it is through donations. Your blood is normally used within 3 days of donation. After one whole blood donation, you need to wait 56 days for your body to replenish itself. This adds up to you being able to donate up to 6 times a year! If you have any questions the  Red Cross has compiled this list of fun facts and statistics.

7. You get a bunch of free stuff!

Every 2 seconds someone needs blood, this makes blood a commodity with high demand. Which means donation centers like Oneblood just give away free stuff with each donation! You could be given an array of free things including movie tickets, Walmart or Publix gift cards, shirts, blankets, and much more! Sign up with your local donation center to get info on what free items are being offered with your next donation!

8. Donating Blood Saves Lives

When you donate blood, you save a life-- period. Go out and be a life saver today.