Before Donating Blood

Before you donate blood, please familiarize yourself with the following guidelines to ensure a successful and pleasant donation experience.

What You Should Know Prior to Donating

There is more than one type of blood donation. You have some choices about how to donate.

Whole blood donation - you donate a pint of whole blood which can be used either whole or separated into blood components. The actual donation takes about 15 minutes.

  • Apheresis donation - you donate a specific blood component, such as red blood cells. More red blood cells can be donated at one time by apheresis than by a whole blood donation. The apheresis donation is done using a machine which separates out the desired blood component. An apheresis donation may take up to an hour, so come ready to read or relax!

What You Should Do Prior To Donating

  • Make an appointment beforehand to minimize your wait time.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and have a good meal before you donate.
  • Review the donor requirements  (requisitos para donantes) and verify that you are indeed eligible to donate at this time.
  • If you plan to donate on a bloodmobile, make sure to review the bloodmobile schedule to verify that it has not been cancelled or rescheduled.
  • If you are a 15 and 16 year-old high school student and your school requires it, you must have a signed permission slip to donate blood. Sixteen year olds need a parent's signature on the permission slip.

What You Should Eat Before Donating

A healthy diet helps ensure a successful blood donation, and also makes you feel better! Check out the following recommended foods to eat prior to your donation.

What You Should Bring When Donating

  • Photo ID
  • San Diego Blood Bank ID
  • List of medications you are taking
  • List of places you have visited outside of the U.S. in the past 3 years
  • A friend to donate with you!