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Today's Medicine

Donate Blood, Save Lives: What You Need To Know Before Donating

Published: June 14, 2022

You may have seen or heard recent ads promoting the need for blood donations. Or maybe your workplace has offered perks for donating or heavily promoted various blood drives. Did you know that you can save up to three lives by making one blood donation? With the need as great as it is, now is the perfect time make an appointment to donate the gift of life.

 

How To Prepare

If you’ve never given blood or given only once or twice, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re considering to donate.

To give blood, you must be at least 17 – or 16 with a parental consent form – and weigh 110 pounds or more.

To make sure that you’re prepared for your appointment, it’s important to:

  • Arrive fully rested
  • Bring a valid photo ID
  • Drink plenty of water before arriving, so you’re well hydrated 
  • Eat a full meal within six hours of your donation

If you’re well rested and hydrated, then you can give blood at any time during the day. You shouldn’t give blood if you’re battling an illness.

You don’t need to know your blood type before you donate, but if you’re curious, a donor specialist will be able to tell you after your donation. There’s always a need for all types of blood, but there’s currently an urgent need for Type O blood.

Additionally, you can donate whole blood every eight weeks, which means you could be eligible to donate up to six times each year.

 

What To Expect

Allow an hour for your appointment, which includes the check-in process, the donation and a relaxation period after donating. The donation itself takes 10-15 minutes and results in giving about one pint of blood.

It’s always recommended to wait at the donation center for a while following your donation, drink some water or juice and eat a snack. It’s possible that you’ll feel a bit light-headed, but if you came prepared, it’s likely that you won’t notice any negative effects. Any slight light-headed feeling should dissipate after you drink and eat, and you’ll be ready to resume your day.

 

More Information

Methodist is proud to partner with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB) for its blood donation resources.

The NCBB recently launched the Thank the Donor Program, allowing people to show gratitude for donors and inspire others to donate. Visit the NCBB website for more information about this program.

For answers to specific questions about your eligibility to donate or help registering, call (402) 486-9414.

More Resources

About the Author

Deborah Perry, MD, holds subspecialty board certification in Hematopathology (blood, bone marrow and lymph node disorders) and Pediatric Pathology. She is medical director for Methodist Hospital Departments of Pathology, along with directing Lexington Regional Health Center (Lexington, Nebraska, Tri-Valley Health Center (Cambridge, Nebraska) and Grape Community (Hamburg, Iowa) laboratories. She has previously served on the College of American Pathologist (CAP) Hematology and Point of Care (POC) Resource committees, served as Chair of the POC committee and currently serves on the Accreditation Committee.

See more articles from Deborah Perry, MD
Deborah Perry, MD