Feeling Faint - Information for donors
Most people adapt quickly to donating blood, however if you feel faint we advise you to:
- Drink plenty of fluids and have a salty snack.
- Eat your normal, regular meals.
- Avoid hot rooms and hot showers/baths.
- Avoid vigorous exercise or rushing about.
- Avoid standing for long periods.
If you do feel unwell:
- Tell someone, either a friend or family member, if possible, and ask them to keep an eye on you.
- Lie down and, if possible, raise your legs.
- Get up slowly when you feel well enough, and drink plenty of fluids.
To reduce the chance of you feeling unwell at your next donation:
- Drink the full 500ml of water that you are asked to drink before you give blood.
- Having this volume of fluid in the stomach at the time of donation reduces the chance of fainting.
- Ask staff to remind you about the applied muscle tension exercises.
- Ensure we know about your previous experience of feeling faint or fainting.
The following tips may also be beneficial before you attend next time
Distraction helps reduce nervousness so bring an MP3 player, book or a friend along with you to the donation session.
On both the day of donation and the evening before, ensure you drink plenty of fluids. However, it is essential to avoid alcohol as this will considerably affect hydration and delay recovery.
Normal regular meals prior to donating are necessary for maintaining blood sugars and ward off light-headedness.
A good night’s sleep the evening before donation is beneficial to your well-being and recovery.
Tight clothing around the arms restricts blood flow and can cause bruises, so wear something which is loose and comfortable.
Eligibility criteria to donate may vary so know your medical, body piercing and travel history to avoid any unnecessary delays.
With these general measures donors can minimise the chances of fainting. Remember: DONATE!
If you are worried or require further information you can obtain advice by ringing our donor helpline on 0300 123 23 23