Donner Sang Compter

Preparing yourself to give blood

Before donating blood:


  • Have a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat well. Avoid fatty meals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol and an excess of caffeine (tea, coffee).
  • Wear loose clothes (with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow).
  • Identify the “good veins” if you are a regular blood donor.
  • Bring an MP3 player or a friend to support you and help cool you down.
  • Know your medical, body piercing and travel history to avoid any delays.
  • Don’t forget your ID card.

Who can and who cannot give blood

Who can?

  • Age: 18 to 65 years old. Above that, it comes down to the overall health status.
  • Weight: on average >60Kg for men, >50Kg for women.
  • If you are feeling well, and display no signs of infection.
  • You can give blood every 3 months, up to 4 times a year for women and 5 for men.

Who can't?

Although most people are eligible for blood donation, it is not the case of everyone. There are a many reasons why you might not be able to donate, but these reasons fall into two main categories: the potentiality that it could harm your health, and the potentiality that it could harm the patient's health. We understand that it can be very disappointing if you are unable to give blood, however we do hope that you understand that our duty is to ensure the safety of both the donor and the patient.

You should not give blood if:

  • You have already donated blood 5 times this year.
  • You have undergone an operation less than 6 months ago.
  • You have ongoing liver, lung, thyroid or heart disease.
  • You have lost weight or have noted a persistent temperature rise for no apparent cause.
  • You have presented fever, a cough, a running nose, sneezing in the last days or so.
  • You have taken aspirin or antibiotics in the past week.
  • You have or have had diarrhea within the last week.
  • You have ingested or injected narcotics (drugs).
  • You havYou have tested positive at any point for malaria.
  • You have tested positive for HIV at any point, or you think you might be at risk.
  • You have had a past history of any type of blood or organ-related cancer.
  • You have had a vaccination (flu, chicken pox, hepatitis…) within 1 month or less.
  • You have a blood-borne disease (thalassemia, hemophilia…)
  • You present occasional epileptic seizures.
  • You have donated platelets less than 48 hours ago.
  • You have had a piercing or a tattoo less than a year ago.
  • You have had a needle or razor or blade accident with foreign blood less than a year ago.
  • You have had an unprotected sexual activity with multiple partners.
  • You are a man who has had sex with another man within the last year (even if protected).
  • You are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 (with limitations).
  • You are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 9 months.
  • You have your periods (women).
  • You have a manifesting allergy.
  • You have had dental work in the last week or so.
  • You have received blood transfusions during your lifetime.
  • You have ever visited countries in South Asia (especially India) and mostly central Africa.
  • You have been to England in the early 1990s.

What Happens when I give blood?

  • You are required to present your ID card upon arrival.
  • You fill in a questionnaire and may be privately interrogated by a nurse.
  • Your hemoglobin level is checked to ensure you are not anemic.
  • Your temperature, blood pressure and pulse should be checked as well.

The nurse then identifies your “good veins”, and uses a sterile syringe and bag to proceed with your blood donation.
A total of around 450mL is withdrawn in 15 to 20 minutes, which is around 10% of your total body weight. This quantity is quickly replenished with correct hydration.

After donating blood:

  • Have a short rest. Do not get up quickly.
  • Have something to drink/eat (a juice or chocolate bar offered by the blood bank).
  • Compress firmly the needle prick site to avoid the formation of a local hematoma.
  • Make sure to get back your ID card.

At home:

  • Have a good hydration for the upcoming 24h (water and juice are recommended).
  • Have a good meal.
  • Do not lift heavy weight or exercise during the day.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Observe the needle prick site for any bruises.

At any point during the process, in some rare cases, you might experience lightheadedness, fainting, numbness in your extremities and around your mouth or feel cold. Make sure to highlight that to friends or the medical staff at the blood bank/drive, to assist you accordingly.

These symptoms usually appear in those who smoke, drink alcohol or exercise before showing up to donate blood or platelets. They are more likely to be observed in skinny people whose weight on the limit. They can be easily overcome by following the instructions given above.

What about bruising?

Bruising is caused by bleeding under the skin. In this case, it is staff-related, linked to the needle prick, with veins being sometimes difficult to find.

You will notice a change in color around the concerned area, which starts right after you finish your blood donation. The skin will turn blue first, then green, then yellow before it goes back to its original color.

If you experience bruising, do not panic or rush to the hospital. Normally, the bleeding will resolve spontaneously and progressively in the upcoming days. In case you take aspirin, or any anti-coagulant or anti-platelet drug, make sure to contact your physician and inform him about it.

Symptoms that should alert you however include numbness in the arm, loss of sensation or temperature, and paralysis. In these cases, please head to the nearest medical facility to be assessed and taken care of as quickly as possible.

Why do bruising happen?

When the needle is taken out of the arm bleeding will continue until the small hole in the vein closes up. The way to prevent this is to apply pressure to the arm over the site where the needle was inserted. This must continue until all signs of bleeding have stopped. Failure to maintain this pressure is the most common cause of bruising.

Secondly, when the donation needle is put into the arm, damage to the opposite wall of the vein may occur, causing a small hole through which blood can escape. This is not always seen during the donation but may become apparent afterwards.

Thirdly there are tiny fragile blood vessels running just under the skin, as well as the larger veins from which a blood donation is obtained. When the donation needle is inserted into the arm, one of these small vessels may be damaged and bleeding occurs. It is impossible to predict this, as such vessels are not usually visible.

What can be done to prevent bruising?

The single most important way of preventing a bruise is to apply pressure to the place where the needle was, until the bleeding has stopped. A plaster will be applied to the area to keep it clean. It should be kept on for a minimum of 6 hours.

Additionally, if you are wearing a tight sleeve, we may ask you to remove that article of clothing. A tight sleeve can act as tourniquet and cause congestion in the vein increasing the chance of bruising.

What can you do after bruising?

Bruising may be painful and you should avoid heavy lifting as this could aggravate the pain in the arm. However, gentle movement may be beneficial.

Applying something cool to the area can help to relieve any pain or discomfort. A cold cloth or flannel is ideal. If you require more pain relief, we recommend taking paracetamol (according to the manufacturers instructions).

Benefits of donating blood

Many researches have proven that donating blood is not only beneficial for the patients in need, but for the donor’s body as well, especially if you give blood on a regular basis.

  • Detect medical conditions such as hypertension, anemia, blood-borne diseases, ongoing infections.
  • Reduce cancer risks, especially those related to blood (leukemia and lymphoma).Reduce cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes).
  • Replenish your blood by keeping the bone marrow active, regenerating red blood cells on a frequent basis.
  • Help up to 3 people with each blood donation, with the unit being divided into plasma, cryoprecipitate and a RBC concentrate depending on the blood bank’s needs.