Before you donate

…check out how you can help your first donation go smoothly.

  1. Eat – don’t donate on an empty stomach. Eating before your donation will help to keep your blood sugar levels steady so that you don’t feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  2. Drink – we give you 500ml of water immediately before your donation, but it’s important that you are well hydrated in the days before your donation. This should compensate for the fluids lost and prevent your blood pressure from dropping, which can make you feel light headed or dizzy.
  3. Exercise – don’t do any vigorous exercise or heavy lifting the day of your donation, either before or afterwards. Keeping your body rested helps it to replenish lost fluids.
  4. Wear – loose sleeves that are easy to roll up to allow us to reach your veins.
  5. Distract – it’s normal to feel nervous the first time you donate. But our friendly and helpful staff will put you at ease. Distraction is key – bring a friend to wait with you, or a book or some music.
  6. Check – that you can give blood before you go along to donate. Overseas travel, tattoos and piercings, medication and medical investigations can all affect your eligibility. Check first at our health and eligibility checker or call us on 0300 123 23 23.
  7. Sleep – get a good night’s sleep before donation to reduce the chance of feeling unwell.

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Watch Donna's video giving blood for the first time

Our step by step guide to donating for the first time

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How your donation gets to the patient

Your donated blood goes directly into a special bag...

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