Mom of two Mischievous Monkeys: How to prepare yourself to donate blood

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to prepare yourself to donate blood

Many years ago I tried to donate blood and ended up not being able to due to the pain involved. Sadly, due to an illness as a teenager not getting diagnosed in a timely manner my blood vessels shrunk and it takes forever to deliver IV medicines and fluids now. This also meant that when I tried to donate blood it just hurt too much. Having countless friends who donate I know that this is not the norm and is as a result of my small blood vessels. I even made sure to drink lots of water that day which obviously was not enough to help.

So when I signed up earlier this month to try and donate again I wanted to try and do everything I could to be prepared. Mentally I am good with it all, prepared that it might hurt just as much as before and I might have to walk out again without being able to donate. I am hoping though that it works so I went in search of some tips to prepare my body physically and wanted to share them.

Eat -Make sure you eat regular meals so you are not light-headed. Maintain a healthy iron level by eating iron rich foods such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron fortified cereals and raisins. Have something to eat a couple hours prior to your appointment but avoid fatty foods just before you donate as they can affect the tests done on your blood. You can have a snack shortly before going in but don't if you think you might get nauseous.

Sleep - Make sure you get a good nights sleep so you are well rested. 

Drink - drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours prior to donating. I even read some that said to make sure to up your fluid intake a week before. But no drinking alcohol! Be sure to drink an extra 16 ounces of water or non-alcoholic fluids before the appointment and afterwards too.

Seems pretty straightforward so lets hope it works this time when I go tomorrow. 

Do you regularly donate blood? Any other tips to share?

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