Donating blood is safe in Australia, whether it’s in one of the numerous capital city or mobile blood banks. Here are tips from the Red Cross on what to do before and after you donate blood to maintain your health.
Before you donate
The day before
- Drink up. As your blood volume goes down a little when you donate, drink plenty of fluids the day before, especially in warm weather.
- Eat something salty in the 12 hours before. You lose about three grams of salt with each donation, so this is your chance to eat something salty such as chips or pretzels without guilt.
- Write down or remember any medications you’re taking.
- Get your ID together. You’ll need to take one or more documents to your appointment that, when combined, show at least three of these:
- Full name.
- Date of birth.
- Home address.
- Photo (if possible).
In the three hours before
- Drink three good-sized glasses of water or juice.
- Eat something savoury or salty.
After you donate
For the first two hours
In the next six hours
- Drink at least three good-sized glasses of water or juice.
- Avoid strenuous exercise such as riding, jogging or going to the gym.
- Don’t stand for long periods. Avoid long queues or standing on crowded public transport.
- Try not to overheat. Stay away from hot showers, sitting or standing in direct sun, and hot drinks.
For at least eight hours
- Avoid alcohol. Save any celebratory drinks for later.
You can’t donate on the day if you have:
- A cold or flu.
- Had an upset stomach in the past week.
- Been to the dentist recently.
If you’re unsure about your eligibility to donate, call 13 14 95.