After your donation

During a blood donation we take 470ml of blood, which is just under a pint.

Your donation is transported to one of our blood centres where it is tested and processed before being issued to hospitals. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your donation, we've created a video that follows your blood from when it leaves your arm, right the way through to being used in a hospital.

Watch our journey of blood video.

After donation, your body has an amazing capacity to replace the blood you have given.

What to do after donating blood?

To help you stay well after you have given blood, we advise you to:

  • keep the pressure dressing on your arm for about 30 minutes after you have given blood, and the plaster on for 6 hours
  • rest for a short time after giving blood
  • eat and drink – you will be encouraged to have at least 2 drinks and a snack before you leave
  • avoid using the donation arm to carry anything very heavy for the rest of the day
  • avoid having a hot bath after you have given blood

If you need further advice or experience any prolonged after effects from your donation please ring 0300 123 23 23.

Feeling unwell after giving blood?

If you feel faint (light headed or dizzy, hot, sweating, trembling, shaky or nauseous) lie down immediately, rest until you feel better and drink plenty of fluid.

Any bruising is usually harmless and will disappear over time. Read more advice about bruising after donation.

If bleeding recurs, sit down, raise your arm and press on the area where the blood is coming from for at least 5 minutes.

If you become unwell (other than a cold or cold-sore) within 2 weeks following your donation, or if you believe there is a reason your blood should not be transfused to a patient, please call our donor helpline on 0300 123 23 23.