FAQ: Blood

Donation Questions

FAQ: Blood


What’s Involved in Donating Blood?

Whether you donate at a mobile drive or at a center, your experience will involve the same steps. You can drop in, but making an appointment in advance and following these pre-donation tips will help you have a successful, easy, and safe experience!

How Do I Prepare for my Blood Donation Appointment?


Drink plenty of fluids 24 hours prior to and right before your blood donation.

Eat Salty Snacks

Enjoy your favorite salty snacks the night before your blood donation.

Get Sleep

Get a good night’s rest before you donate.

Eat a Good Breakfast

Eat regular meals on the day of your blood donation.

Bring Picture ID

Student ID, driver’s license, or work badge is just fine.

Fill out QuickPass

Complete the QuickPass health history questionnaire online the day of donation.

FAQ: Blood Donation Eligibility

Who is eligible to donate blood?

Most folks who are in good health are eligible to donate blood.

Have specific questions? See our eligibility page. If you have a specific question regarding your eligibility to donate blood and would like to discuss it with someone, you can email [email protected] or call (425)656-3077 (option 1).

What can I do to increase my iron level before my donation?

Low iron levels may impact your ability to donate blood. Learn more about tips for boosting iron levels and how iron impacts blood donation.

If I use cannabis, can I donate blood?

Cannabis use does not affect a person’s ability to be a blood donor unless they are under the influence. We cannot accept blood from anyone who is intoxicated with alcohol, cannabis, or prescription drugs. Learn more about cannabis and blood donation.

Do I need to know my blood type to donate blood?

You do not need to know your blood type to give blood. Becoming a blood donor is a great way to learn your blood type. After your first donation, your blood type will appear in your donor portal account within 48 hours. By signing up for email, you’ll learn your blood type and which local hospital received your donation.

Are there special considerations when considering blood donation?

Sometimes there are special considerations that impact donation eligibility, like some international travel. Review our travel assessment worksheet and the latest news in special considerations for more information.

Are there traveling restrictions for blood donation?

Yes, recent trips or a history of travel to some regions can make you ineligible to donate. Learn more about travel restrictions for donating blood.

Is there a weight limit or other physical factors that might affect my ability to donate?

There are some minimum weight requirements that can affect your ability to donate blood. Review basic blood donation requirements to learn more.

Other Ways to Donate

What are the different types of blood that can be donated?

You can find details on different types of donations here. The most common is a whole blood donation, which usually takes less than one hour in total. You can do apheresis donations of platelets, plasma, or double red cells – a process that takes 90 – 120 minutes. We can help you determine what works best for you, and how your donation can help patients most.

Can I make a financial donation?

Yes, financial contributions are vital in keeping Bloodworks on the cutting edge of research. Learn more about giving a financial gift here.

Blood Donation and Medication Questions

Does getting a vaccination affect your ability to donate?

For some vaccinations there might be a waiting period before you can donate blood. You can learn more here.

Are there some medications (prescription or over-the-counter) that affect your ability to donate?

For antibiotics, you need to wait 7 days after you have completed your prescription before you can donate blood. For many over the counter medications, you can still donate. Learn more about medications and blood donation eligibility.

FAQ: The Blood Donation Process

Does blood donation hurt? I hate needles!

You may feel a quick pinch or sting at first when the needle is inserted, but donating blood should be painless.

How long does it take to donate blood?

Blood donation from start to finish takes about an hour. The actual donation time is only about 10 minutes. Learn more about whole blood donation.

Will I find out where my blood went?

Sign up to receive emails to learn which local hospital received your donation.

How can I prepare for my blood donation appointment?

Prepare for your donation appointment by staying extra hydrated in the 24 hours leading up to your donation, get a good night’s sleep, and eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, or salty snack prior to donating. On the day of your appointment, complete your QuickPass online health history questionnaire and remember to bring a photo ID.

Where can I donate blood?

You can find a list of blood donation centers here. All of our centers have parking onsite or nearby.

Or you can explore current listings of Bloodworks Northwest mobile blood drives — so you can donate near where you live, work or go to school.

Should I be concerned about fainting when I donate blood?

Occasionally, people feel faint during or after blood donation — most often the first time they donate. Our people are there to keep you safe. Many people who feel faint the first time come back again many times as regular donors.

What activities should I avoid after donating blood?

Drink extra fluids and avoid alcohol for the next 24 hours after donating blood. Also, do not perform any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day. Keep the bandage on your arm for at least 4 hours. Take it easy, you just saved a life!

FAQ: Scheduling Your Blood Donation Appointment

What if I can't find an appointment day or time that works for me?

Our Donor Care Team at 800-398-7888 or [email protected] is happy to assist you in finding an appointment that’s convenient for you. You can also book appointments up to 4 months in advance in the Donor Scheduling Portal. We add new drives every week, check back soon!

Do I have to make an appointment to donate blood?

There is some same day availability but for the best experience we recommend scheduling a day and time that work for you.

Appointments are required for the best possible donation experience. Same day appointments are available at most locations. You can schedule online or give us a call at 800-398-7888.

How often can I donate blood?

You can donate whole blood once every 56 days. Platelet and plasma donations take 90 minutes to 2 hours, but you can give much more frequently. Double red cells can be donated every 4 months. Learn more about blood donation frequency requirements.

Can I schedule an appointment online?

Yes, online appointments can be scheduled through our Donor Portal. Registering online will make it easy to schedule appointments and keep your contact information up to date.

When I’m eligible to donate again, can I get an email or text reminder?

Yes, you can sign up for the email reminders with Bloodworks Northwest.  We will introduce a text reminder feature soon.

Other Blood Donation Questions

What is Quickpass?

Quickpass is a questionnaire you fill out the day of your donation that is required. It takes about 10 minutes to fill out prior to your appointment.

*Note: QuickPass does not determine your eligibility to donate; that will be done at the time of your donation. If you would like to talk to someone in advance about your eligibility to donate, contact us at [email protected] or call (425) 656-3077 (option 1).

How do I organize a blood drive?

We’re seeking blood drive opportunities every day to support a safe community blood supply. Learn more about organizing a blood drive.

I need to update my contact information, can I do that online?

Yes, once you have set up your Donor Scheduling Portal account you can go into your online profile and update your information. You can also send your updated contact information to [email protected].

Blood Donation Eligibility Information

Additional Blood Donation Information



Additional Blood Donation Information

Blood Donation Eligibility Information



Your Gift of Blood, Time or Money Saves Lives.