Young Blood Donors
Thank you for choosing to help save lives through blood and platelet donations. Young donors, like you, play an important role in helping to make sure that blood is available when and where it is needed most. The American Red Cross wants you to have the best possible donation experience as you begin your life-long donation journey.
As a blood donor, you donate one pint of blood, which your body quickly replaces. As someone who is new to donating blood, we encourage you to focus on being a healthy blood donor. Here are a few things you should do to have the best possible experience:
How should I prepare for my donation?
Please make sure to bring your photo identification or Red Cross donor card with you. You should feel well on the day of donation. If you're not feeling well, we ask that you wait and donate when you're better. Here are some other helpful tips to prepare:
- Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before your appointment
- Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch – or both, if you’re donating later in the day
- Choose lean proteins (lean meat, cheese and yogurt) or complex carbohydrates (bread, cereal and fruit) and avoid fatty foods
- Drink a few extra glasses of water, including an extra glass about 10 to 30 minutes before your donation
- Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above your elbow
It is also important that you have a good understanding of your medical history. You will be asked a series of questions that are personal in nature – about travel, medication, drug use and sex. It’s important you answer questions honestly. Remember, your answers are confidential.
What should I do after donating?
It is important to keep up healthy habits after donating to help your body recover quickly. Here are some things you should do:
- Drink plenty of water after donating, making sure to stay hydrated
- Try to relax – avoid strenuous exercise or work for the rest of the day
- Take a multivitamin with 18mg iron for 60 days to help replenish the iron your body lost*