Blood Donation Frequently Asked Questions

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Blood Donation FAQ

We have included answers to the questions we hear most often. You can learn more about blood donation from the American Red Cross, or contacting Huntington Hospital Blood Donation staff at (626) 397-5422.

Blood Donation FAQs

Prepare to donate blood by following these steps:

  • Eat a nutritious meal – don’t skip meals.
  • Drink water – start drinking water the day before and continue after your donation.
  • Bring a photo ID which includes your date of birth – We need to establish a permanent identification number for you, such as your drivers license number or passport.
  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.
  • Maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet before donating – If possible include iron enriched foods in your diet, especially in the weeks before your donation.

Only for a moment. If you pinch the fleshy, soft underside of your arm, that sensation is similar to the feeling of an inserted needle.

When you donate blood at Huntington Hospital we will collect 450mls to 475mls of blood – that’s about 2 cups or 1 pint.

Your body contains eight to 10 pints of blood and in a day your heart pumps these eight to 10 pints around your body no less than 2000 times.

Most donors tolerate the blood donation process very well with no side effects. A small number of donors may feel tired or sluggish following their donation.

Under normal circumstances your blood will be available for use by a patient two to three working days after your donations.

It is recommended that you wait 24 hours before you do any heavy lifting or exercise.

The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That’s why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations.

You must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood. Platelet apheresis donors may give every seven days up to 24 times per year. Regulations are different for those giving blood for themselves (autologous donors).

Cancer: May donate after treatment of basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, and cervical dysplasia or carcinoma in situ of the cervix. Donors with a history of a solid organ or nonhematologic malignancy may donate one year after completion of treatment provided they have remained symptom free without relapse.

You may donate 2 weeks after receiving a tattoo.

Low iron levels can cause a variety of health problems, including anemia. If you’ve been diagnosed with low iron, but would prefer to try and boost your iron levels through diet before adding iron supplements, eating the correct foods can help.

  • Animal Proteins
    Most animal proteins have high levels of iron. Boost your iron levels by consuming red meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Consuming small amounts of red meat several times a week is an excellent way to increase your iron level.
  • Fortified Breads and Cereals
    Breads and cereals with added iron can help increase your iron level, as well. For best results, combine these sources of additive iron with a citrus juice that’s high in vitamin C, such as orange or grapefruit.
  • Vegetable Iron Sources
    Iron can also be found in dried fruits, beans, legumes, nuts and leafy green vegetables. These nonheme iron sources are best put to use by the body when they are combined with a heme iron source such as red meat.

Yes, you may donate when you are breast feeding.