- Health Screening
- After Donating
Beginning the day before, focus on drinking plenty of water prior to your donation. Eat a hearty meal the night before your donation and get plenty of rest. Eat a well-balanced meal one to two hours prior to donation and remember to drink water throughout the day and limit caffeine intake. If you are donating platelets, do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin for at least 48 hours prior to donation. Please consult your physician prior to stopping any medications. For a list of medications acceptable for donation, please visit our Eligibility page.
When you arrive, you will be asked to present a photo ID, which is required at all donations so make sure you have yours!
A trained Carter BloodCare staff member will go over your health history with you to make sure you are healthy enough to give and patients can safely receive your blood. The staff member will check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and blood count. The required minimum weight to give blood is 110 pounds, and Carter BloodCare is required to weigh donors for certain apheresis donations.
You will be asked to lie back and relax while your arm is cleaned with an antiseptic. A phlebotomist will take your blood using a brand new, sterile needle. This process lasts approximately 10 minutes for whole blood and collects about one pint of blood. Automated collection (apheresis) procedure times vary. Once the draw is complete, your phlebotomist will carefully remove the needle, apply pressure to the area, add a bandaid or wrap, and have you slowly get up.
It is important to eat and replenish fluids after a donation. We recommend waiting 15 minutes post-donation, and our canteen area is loaded with snacks and beverages to help you recover. Your post-donation card will provide you with more tips and information.
It is important to avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours after giving blood. Avoid exercise or strenuous activity for at least 24 hours. It is normal for the donation site to be tender for a few days, and sometimes a bruise can appear. Don’t forget to log in to check your results after three days.
Iron is important for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen. Loss of red blood cells through blood donation may deplete the body of iron over time, and frequent blood donors may become low on iron before becoming anemic. Young women are particularly at risk of low iron due to blood loss during their menstrual cycles. Diet alone may not be enough to replace iron, especially if you have gastrointestinal issues or do not eat red meat. If you think you may be at risk of low iron, you may consider calling your physician or taking an oral iron supplement. Do not take iron without consulting your doctor if you have any family history of too much iron in the body.