What Can I Expect During My Donation?
Registration & Health History
When you come to donate at a Hoxworth Neighborhood Donor Center or mobile blood drive, you will first register and sign in with one of our staff members. All donors must have a photo ID and current address to register.
After signing in, you’ll receive a tablet to fill out your donor questionnaire. We want to make sure that donating is safe both for you and for any patient that might receive your blood, so we’ll ask questions about medications, recent travel, and health history. You will also receive some informational materials to review prior to moving on to your screening. Have questions? One of our staff members will be happy to help.
Screening & Mini-Physical
After completing your donor questionnare, you’ll meet with a Hoxworth employee in one of our private screening booths go over your questionnaire responses, address any health or travel concerns, and complete your mini-physical. We will test your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and hematocrit (iron levels) to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate. Don’t worry if your iron is too low or your pulse is too fast to donate this time–you can always try again in a few weeks!
Congrats! You’ve passed your mini-physical and you’re ready to donate. You’ll be seated in one of our donor chairs and a Hoxworth team member will be dedicated to ensuring a smooth, positive donation experience. If you’re feeling nervous, please let us know and we’ll do our best to make you feel calm and comfortable.
That staff member will sterilize the skin near the crook of your elbow, locate a vein, and help you relax before starting the donation process. (And don’t worry, it won’t hurt! Most of our donors report feeling a small pinch, and that’s it.) Most whole blood donations take less than 10 minutes. Once you’ve finished donating, we’ll give you a minute to relax in the chair as we bandage your arm and give you your post-donation care instructions.
Relax & Snack
The best part of donating blood? Knowing that you’ve saved a life–but the snacks are a close second. After your donation, we recommend that you stick around for 10 minutes to drink some juice or soda, eat some snacks, and take a little time to recharge. All of our Neighborhood Donor Centers feature cookie ovens, so be sure to snag a fresh-baked cookie! Before you leave, make sure to stop by our registration area to schedule your next lifesaving donation.
Tips for Your Donation
- Don’t skip breakfast! Before donating, be sure to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids. Eating snacks after your donation is also highly encouraged.
- Come prepared. Bring a photo ID, a list of current medications, and recent travel history to make your registration smooth and swift.
Debunking Myths & Fears
Nervous or unsure about donating blood? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about blood donation out there, so we’re sharing a few facts about the process to make people a little less anxious:
FEAR: I’m afraid that donating blood hurts.
Honestly, it’s not that bad—we mean it! Most of our donors report feeling a slight pinch when the needle goes in, and that’s it.
If you’re nervous about the momentary discomfort, let your Hoxworth phlebotomist know, and we’ll help you through it!
MYTH: I can’t donate if I have a tattoo.
Not the case. If you got your tattoo in a sterile manner in a licensed tattoo shop in most states, including Ohio or Kentucky, you can donate as soon as it’s healed.
FEAR: I’m afraid I’ll pass out.
Less than 10% of first-time donors have adverse reactions during or after their donation—and for those that do, dizziness and mild faintness are the most common reactions.
Preparation is key! Make sure you eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before your donation.
MYTH: I take medication, so I can’t donate.
Most common medications like birth control pills, insulin, allergy medications, anti-depressants, and ibuprofen or Tylenol won’t affect your ability to donate!
MYTH: I don’t need to donate—someone else will be able to do it.
About 30% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, and less than 10% of eligible people actually donate. Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs blood—and because there is no artificial substitute for blood, we need donors like you to roll up a sleeve.