|Red Cross Blood Donation Souvenirs|
If it's your first time donating blood, here's some helpful advice:
- Drink lots of water starting at least a day or two BEFORE you donate blood. You want to be well hydrated. It makes a big difference! Even though they started taking blood from my (less-hydrated) friend first, we ended up filling our bags at the same time! I asked how that was possible and the nurse replied it was because I was hydrated. So yes! Score one for water!
- Also, load up on iron-rich foods (especially if you're female). I didn't do that the first time so I ended up with low iron and couldn't donate. The Red Cross provides a helpful list of iron-rich foods on their website. Personally, I ate red meat and dark, leafy greens. I also added an iron supplement per my doctor's recommendation, but you should consult your physician before doing that yourself.
- After the donation, I highly recommend drinking lots of water and eating at least a few of the snacks. One of the girls who finished after us just sat there and then she ended up almost fainting.
- Finally, my last bit of advice is to convince your friends to go and donate together! My friend and I were on neighboring beds so we could chat as we donated. We had a bunch of laughs while snacking afterwards too. One of the volunteers even commented that we were having too much fun, but it made the experience more entertaining.
- And don't forget to enjoy the fact that you helped save 3 lives! It's a wonderful feeling!