What to Expect When You Give Blood

Since 1970, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month. This was intended to encourage donors to give blood during the time of year when blood donations typically decline. If you’ve never donated blood before, the emergency care providers at West Hills Hospital encourage you to consider giving the gift of life.

Before You Go

If you plan to go to a blood drive at your community hospital or at the local office of the American Red Cross, call ahead of time to make an appointment. During the days and weeks leading up to your appointment, eat a healthy diet with plenty of iron-rich foods. These include meats, beans, dried fruits, and dark green vegetables such as spinach. Drink plenty of fluids on the day of your appointment and wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that are easily rolled up. Bring identification and a list of all prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements you may be taking.

During Your Appointment

When you arrive at the hospital or other blood drive site, you will register and receive a medical screening , which includes a check of your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. You’ll also have a confidential interview, during which you’ll be asked to disclose your health history. If you are eligible to blood donor, a technician will cleanse an area of skin on your arm and insert a new, sterile needle. Let the technician know if needles make you nervous. He or she can help you successfully donate blood despite this obstacle. It will only take about eight to 10 minutes for most blood donations.

After You Donate

Once your blood donation is complete, the technician removes the needle and places a bandage on your arm. At this point, you can head over to the refreshments area to enjoy a beverage and a snack with the other blood donors. Drink plenty of extra fluids during the next 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity. You should also avoid consuming alcohol for 24 hours.

West Hills Hospital relies on generous blood donors to help us save lives. The providers at our emergency care, cancer care, Grossman Burn Center, and other departments throughout our community hospital would like to extend our gratitude to West Hills residents who give blood. If you have a general question about blood donations, you can contact our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.