After You Donate

Your Gift Saves Lives

After you donate:

  • Sit in the observation area for at least 15 minutes.
  • Keep your bandage on for at least 4 hours.
  • Drink extra fluids for the next two days; avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous or dangerous activities.
  • If you feel faint or dizzy, lie down or sit with your head between your knees until you feel better.
  • If you experience arm swelling, bruising or pain, apply a cold pack to the area and rest and elevate your arm when possible. After 36 hours, you may apply a warm compress or washcloth to the area.

Please call us right away at (844) 380-5220 if you:

  • Don’t want your blood used for any reason.
  • Forgot to report any important health information before you donated.
  • Become ill with symptoms of a cold or flu, such as fever, headache or sore throat, within 72 hours.

Please also let us know if you:

  • Continue to feel nauseated, lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Feel pain or tingling down your arm and into your fingers.
  • Had any problems or needed medical care after giving blood.
  • Have any questions concerning your donation.

In case of emergency, please call 911.

Frequent Donors And Iron

Donating blood is relatively safe, but iron deficiency may occur with donation. Blood donors may benefit from a diet high in iron-rich foods and should consider taking a daily multivitamin containing iron. Refer to Blood Donation and Iron Loss in the Blood Donor Educational Material.


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my blood after donation?

Your donation is taken to the lab and gets processed in a centrifuge to separate it into three different lifesaving components. Once testing is completed to ensure safety of the blood components, 24/7 dispatchers deliver it to the hospital, where it is used to help someone in need.

What should I expect after donating blood?

Many people report a boosted mood following blood donation, especially knowing that their generosity will make a lasting impact. In addition, you will want to eat a healthy meal and drink more fluids than usual (of the non-alcoholic variety). Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous or dangerous activities for the next 24 hours.

Remove the bandage after about 4 hours and go about your day as normal. If you feel lightheaded, lay down for a moment and drink more fluids. Your body will replace the liquid part of the blood (plasma) and platelets within two days and the red blood cells within 56 days.

How do I find out my blood type after I donate?

First-time donors or those who do not know their blood type can log in to their donor portal from a desktop or laptop computer to find out what blood type they are and what types of donations are recommended based on their last donation.

How often can I donate?

Healthy individuals can donate whole blood every 8 weeks. Platelet donors become eligible after seven days and plasma donors must wait 4 weeks to donate plasma again. If you give a double red cell, you can donate in 16 weeks. Donors aged 17 and 18 can donate whole blood every 6 months. Check your donor portal to view your next eligibility date.

What wellness markers are tracked in my donor portal?

Blood donors can log-in to their donor portal to see their Wellness Profile. Here you will see your cholesterol, blood pressure, temperature, pulse and hemoglobin results from your last donation.

How does my blood help patients in need?

Your donation can help people who have experienced:

  • Cancer
  • Car Accidents and Traumas
  • Heart Surgery and Organ Transplants
  • Severe Anemia and Blood Diseases
  • Pregnancy Complications and Childbirth
  • And much more

What happens if you find something in the lab testing that prevents my blood from being used?​

You will be notified via mail if testing results indicate your blood cannot be used after infectious disease testing (e.g., Hepatitis B and C). The health and wellness of donors and the patients we serve is very important to us. 

After You Donate | Southern California Blood Bank


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