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 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.
FAQ: Blood Donation Eligibility
Who is eligible to donate blood?
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. 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. For many over the counter medications, you can still donate. You can learn more here.
FAQ: The Blood Donation Process
Does it 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?
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 here.
Will I find out where my blood went?
Sign up here to receive emails to learn which local hospital received your donation.
How can I prepare for my donation?
Prepare for your donation 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?
Should I be concerned about fainting?
Occasionally, people feel faint during or after 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?
Drink extra fluids and avoid alcohol for the next 24 hours. 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?
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 frequently can I donate?
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. You can learn more here.
Can I schedule an appointment online?
Yes, online appointments can be schedule here. 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, sign up for the email reminders here. 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?
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].