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First time donating blood? - Checklist for your first blood donation

Would you also like to become a lifesaver and donate blood for the first time? So that you are well prepared, you will find important information and a checklist for first-time blood donors here.

What do first-time blood donors have to consider?

The first time you donate blood, there are a few things you should be well prepared for. First things first: Don't be afraid, because donating blood doesn't hurt. Always keep in mind why you are doing this. The little prick with the needle only takes the blink of an eye, but with the donation you are giving the recipients precious lifetime - maybe even for many years. You don't need to worry, because the employees of our DRK blood donation service are very experienced and can understand that first-time donors are sometimes a little anxious. You will be well looked after at our donation campaigns!

1. Feel healthy

On the day of the donation, you should just feel good. You should better cure a cold, sore throat or herpes infection and show up at the next possible blood donation date. This protects both yourself as a donor and the recipient of the blood preparations. At every blood donation appointment, there is also a doctor on site who makes the final decision as to whether a potential donor can donate blood on that day.

2. Pay attention to age and weight

The guidelines on the collection of blood and blood components and on the use of blood products (haemotherapy guideline) stipulate who is allowed to donate blood. Blood donors must be at least 18 years old and healthy. However, first-time blood donors must not be older than 64 years. In addition, the donor must weigh at least 50 kilograms and a maximum of 160 kilograms.

3. What should you eat and drink before and after donating blood?

Before donating, you should have eaten enough (preferably a low-fat diet) and drunk at least 1.5 liters (water, teas, fruit juices) - please do not come to the blood donation appointment on an empty stomach.
You should not have drunk any alcohol twelve hours before the blood donation. Please provide correct information in this regard to our donation staff. This is for your own safety and that of the patients receiving a blood transfusion. If you should be a patient yourself, you expect the same from a blood donor.

4. Exercise before donating blood

It is recommended that you refrain from exercising before donating blood. You should also avoid physical activity immediately after donating blood. Find out more about this topic in our magazine article "Exercise after blood donation".

5. Donation check

You can do the donation check before donating blood to see whether you meet some basic requirements for a blood donation. On site at the donation appointment, however, you must always fill out a questionnaire, have your blood pressure, temperature and hemoglobin value measured before the blood donation and have a brief conversation with the doctor.

6. Other questions

If you have any further questions about donating blood for the first time, you can call the DRK blood donation hotline on 0800-1194911 (free of charge). This is available from Monday to Friday.

What do you need to bring with you?

For every donation, not just as a first-time blood donor, you must always present a valid and official identity document with a photo (identity card, passport or driver's license in credit card format). Please check beforehand whether your ID is still valid.
Our tip: Have you made up your mind and are you daring to donate blood for the first time? Do not come to the donation appointment alone, but preferably take your partner, a friend or acquaintance with you to the appointment. At best, your companion is an experienced blood donor. If you come alone, bring a book to read, your cell phone to play or surf the Internet, or talk to other donors.

How long does a blood donation take the first time?

With the recording of the donor data, the registration, the filling out of a medical questionnaire, the short medical examination and the rest phase after the donation (20 to 30 minutes) including a snack, you should plan an hour for your first blood donation. The blood collection itself usually takes between 5 to 10 minutes. A total of 500 milliliters of whole blood is taken.

First blood donation - what is being examined?

With every blood donation, your blood is tested for certain infectious agents in one of our laboratories.

Blood typing

After the first blood donation, your blood group and the associated Rhesus factor are determined once. You will find out the result of the blood grouping around four weeks after donating blood for the first time. For this purpose, a DRK blood donor ID will be sent to your home in the practical credit card format.
All important data about your blood group is saved on the DRK blood donation card. It is best to always carry this with you. As the owner of this card, you can be helped more quickly in an emergency with a blood transfusion and the right blood reserve can be selected right away.
Here you can find even more interesting facts about blood groups.

Health check

Another advantage of every blood donation is the free health check. Every blood supply is checked for certain infectious diseases such as hepatitis or HIV. We will inform you immediately of any abnormal findings that could indicate an illness.
As a blood donor, you are not only doing something good for others, you are also taking care of your own health. With every blood donation, your hemoglobin level, body temperature and blood pressure are measured - high blood pressure is often only recognized by the check during the regular blood donation in those affected.

What do you have to consider after donating blood for the first time?

A healthy body can easily compensate for the blood loss after a donation after a few days. Important: You have also lost half a liter of fluid as a result of the blood donation. Make sure to drink a lot after donating blood - preferably more than usual. Please allow yourself a rest period of 20-30 minutes at the blood donation site. Strengthen yourself with the free snacks and drinks.
Then you can continue your day as usual. However, we recommend that you refrain from consuming cigarettes within the first hour and avoid alcohol and exercise on the day of the blood donation.
We would be happy if you give us feedback after your blood donation and take part in the donor survey.

First time blood donation checklist

  • Inform about the blood donation process
  • Find a blood donation date in your region
  • Feel healthy
  • Pack your ID card
  • Min. Drink 1.5 liters (preferably water, teas or fruit juices)
  • Eat enough
  • Donating blood to the DRK blood donation service
  • If possible, take it easy for the rest of the day
  • Feel good because you did a good deed!

If you want to know how a climbing professional experienced blood donation for the first time, then read Sebastian Halenke's report.