Prepare and after care

1

Before you donate

Get your paperwork together

You’ll need to bring some ID with you. It could be a driver’s licence, passport, or your digital donor card in our Donate Blood app. You can use a combination of things for ID, as long as all up you can show any three of these: 

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Signature
  • Photo.

While you’re at it, write down or remember any medications you're taking so you can let our team know. 

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit nervous — it’s completely normal.  

Read our tips to help you relax

Hydrate and eat

One of the most important things you can do to look after your own health is to drink lots of fluids and have plenty to eat. 
 

The day before
  • Drink plenty of fluids — 10 glasses for men or 8 glasses for women. 
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep. 
     
3hrs before
  • Drink 750mL (that’s 3 good-sized glasses) of fluids. 
  • Have something savoury to eat. 
  • Avoid strenuous exercise. 
2

At the donor centre

Welcome

When you walk in the door, you'll be greeted by our reception staff member. They’ll check your valid ID. This is probably the best time to speak up if you need your parking validated. 

Then, you’ll take a seat and fill out the confidential donor questionnaire they give you. (If you'd like to see the questionnaire in advance, here's a sample.) 

Interview

In a private room, a trained staff member will go over your questionnaire answers with you and ask some questions to check that you’re fine to donate. 

They’ll give you a quick ‘finger prick’ test to check your haemoglobin (a protein which contains iron) and test your blood pressure. 

Donate

Sit back and relax on a comfy couch. You can read, chat with our team or other donors, or just enjoy some quiet time. 

We’ll keep a close eye on you the whole time to make sure you’re OK. Talk to a staff member if you feel uncomfortable or worried at any point.  

Congratulations! Your donation is done. Now it's time to celebrate. 

3

After you donate

Right after

It’s tempting to hurry over to the refreshments area to have your pick of the snacks, but take your time before you get up. It’s important that you rest for a few minutes in the donor chair. 

When you’re ready, you can head over to the refreshments area to relax for another 15 minutes. Find your favourite snack, have a cool drink, maybe make a cup of tea, and enjoy. 

Make sure you grab a juice or water on your way out. 

In the next 8 hours

Drink plenty more fluids. Aim for another 3 good-sized glasses in the first 3 hours. 

Take a seat when you can. Your body needs a bit of time to recover, so try to avoid spending too much time on your feet. 

Try not to overheat. Some days it’s tricky, but do your best to avoid hot showers, rushing around, standing in direct sun and hot drinks. 

Stay away from alcoholic drinks. 

Eat regular meals — you’ll need your energy. 

For at least 12 hours

Avoid strenuous exercise (like cycling, jogging or going to the gym) or hazardous activities, including activities or jobs where public safety may be affected. If you’re not sure whether that applies to your job, check with your boss, donate outside of work hours, or bring it up in your pre-donation interview. 

Most people feel great after they donate. In fact, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself (as you should!), but if you feel unwell at any point, please call us on 13 14 95

Reduce the risk of side-effects

If you experience bruising

Small bruises around where the needle was inserted are pretty normal and nothing to worry about. 

Much more rarely, larger bruises or pain may occur. They might look scary, but they’re usually harmless and all bruises will go away in a couple of days. 

It can’t always be prevented, but you can reduce the risk of bruising by keeping the bandage on your arm for 4 hours after donating, and by avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous use of your arm for the next 24 hours. 

How to treat a bruise

If your bruise is causing any kind of discomfort: 

  • Hold a cold pack wrapped in a clean cloth over the bruise. Only do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times in the first 24 hours. 
  • After 24 hours, apply a hot pack wrapped in a clean cloth. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day. 
  • Use mild pain relievers like paracetamol (not aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen). 

If your bruise is causing severe pain, numbness, inflammation, stiffness or swelling, call us on 13 14 95 to talk to one of our medical officers. 

Any complications

There can be complications, but they’re extremely rare and usually resolve completely. 

This may include damage to an artery, nerve or tendon and local swelling or infection at the needle site. This sort of problem occurs in less than 5 in every 10,000 donations. 

Even more rarely, some donors experience tightness in the chest, chest pain or a rapid pulse. It only happens to a really small number of people (less than 0.00001%). If you experience these symptoms after you leave, call 000

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