If you are able to donate blood, I definitely encourage you to do it! There are a variety of reasons as to why someone cannot give blood and if you are unsure whether you can or not, you can call your local blood donation location and ask – the rules seem to change sometimes as new information becomes available so it is definitely worth asking. If you are a little afraid or nervous, you can still make an appointment and just let them know that you are a bit scared and they will probably do what they can to make you more comfortable.
I try to donate blood on a regular basis, aiming for 3 times per year. There have been a few times where my hemoglobin (iron) levels were too low but I’ve been trying to work on it! I was able to donate blood yesterday but my iron level was at the minimum that it needed to be so I barely made it. I’m hoping to get into better iron eating habits so that I don’t have to even worry about it not being high enough next time.
After donating blood, they ask people to wait at least 15 minutes in the waiting area and drink some liquids and have some snacks. The blood donation center I go to usually have juice, water, tea, popcorn, cookies, chex mix, pretzels and I think once a week they order pizza. I always eat the snacks and drink water when I’m there because they say people are most likely to have a bad reaction or not feel well within the first 15 minutes after donating blood. However, there was one time in high school I passed out a few hours after giving blood and it was most likely because I forgot to eat a meal before donating – lesson learned. Then there was a time last year where I almost passed out about 45 minutes after donating and I’m guessing it just took me too long to eat a big meal after (we were waiting for some friends at a restaurant and there was a wait time to get a table). So now we know, donate blood, eat snacks and drink water while there, then immediately go somewhere to eat a big, good meal – and if there is a wait time, go somewhere else to eat something quickly.
Most people are perfectly fine after donating blood but for some reason, it really tires me out! Yesterday my husband and I donated blood, went out to dinner then we came home and I went to bed! I was exhausted! But knowing that it possibly saved someone’s life makes it all worth it.