After Getting Blood Drawn What should I Eat? During a medical procedure, you may need to undergo blood tests and blood collection. However, this poses up some serious risks if you don’t know how to deal with it, as it can lead to both internal and external bleeding. At that time, you have to be careful with What To Eat Before and After Donating Blood because your body needs to rest and recover. This article will guide you through Advantages Of Donating Blood.
You have just had some blood removed. This procedure is called phlebotomy (say “fleh-BAW-tuh-mee”).
People have their blood taken (drawn) for several reasons. You may have just donated blood so that it can be used to help someone else. Or you may have had blood removed to treat a medical condition, such as hemochromatosis or polycythemia. These take more blood than the sample that is needed for simple lab tests. For donation, about a pint of blood is drawn. If it’s drawn for treatment, then more or less than a pint may be taken.
The puncture wound caused by the poke from the needle for giving blood usually heals without trouble. Most people feel fine after they give blood. But there are some simple things you can do to take care of yourself before you go home.
- Right after you give blood, you may be asked to sit for a while and have some water or juice and a snack.
- When you leave, get up slowly to make sure that you’re not light-headed. You may want to have a family member or friend take you home.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- In the hours after you give blood, make sure to:
- Drink plenty of fluids to help replace the lost fluid. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
- Limit your physical activity for several hours.
- If you feel a little light-headed, lie down for a while, and have some snacks. Call the blood bank or clinic if you feel sick within 24 hours after you give blood.
- Eat foods rich in iron, such as meat, fish, beans, or leafy green vegetables, for several weeks to help your body make new red blood cells.
What happens when you have blood drawn
When you have a blood sample taken, first you check in, then the phlebotomist (the health care professional who draws your blood) will bring you back to the draw station. You’ll sit down, and they will likely confirm your identity, then start the process.
They prep your site by cleaning the area—they usually draw blood from the inside of your elbow. Then they place a needle into an accessible vein and use vacuum tubes to draw out the blood samples. When they are finished, they bandage the site. Depending on the tests your doctor requested, they may fill several small tubes.
Afterward, you should keep the bandage on for one to two hours and watch the site for any changes. There’s a risk of bleeding and bruising and a rare chance of infection or clotting. Otherwise, you’re free to go about your normal activities.
Here’s how to make the blood draw easier
Dr. Redding shared these tips for making your blood draw go a little more smoothly:
- Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water. Being well-rested and increasing your blood volume by drinking water can help make it easier for the phlebotomist to access your vein.
- Ask your doctor if you need to fast before the blood draw. For some tests, you need to avoid eating for a predetermined amount of time beforehand (oftentimes, overnight). Time may vary based on the test.
- Wear short sleeves. That way, you don’t have to undress or awkwardly pull your arm from your sleeve to expose your vein.
- Take your prescribed medications beforehand unless a health care professional advises you otherwise.
- Bring your insurance card and identification.
- If your lab doesn’t require an appointment, you might want to ask when it’s least busy, so you don’t have to wait for long. Many labs are busy early in the morning, after people fast overnight.
What To Eat Before and After Donating Blood
Since 2004 on June 14, we have been celebrating World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness and thank volunteers for their noble action. I think, it’s a very powerful motivation to be altruistic and spend an hour in the community donor center. Your positive experience is the key to the whole procedure. It’s not only important to be well prepared but you also need to know what to eat after giving blood.
Donating is safe. All materials are sterile and used only once. You can’t get any infectious disease. Red cross and other donor centers supply hospitals and medical facilities in the community. Plus, you get a free physical check-up: pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin levels. Numerous health problems could be detected from these screenings.
- Avoid fatty foods – burgers, ice cream, fries and even ‘good fat’ foods like avocados. Your sample will be tested for infectious diseases (HIV and hepatitis C). High fat foods affects test results for a couple of hours after the intake. In this case, your blood will be discarded. So, your effort will be for nothing.
- Increase the consumption of vitamin K the day before your procedure: broccoli, brussels sprouts, edamame, prunes. This vitamin assists in blood-clotting, improves insulin sensitivity and boosts brain function.
- Alcohol is a NO-NO at least 48 hours before your procedure.
- Drink plenty of water the day before.
- Rest up – get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours). You’ll need your energy.
- Sit and relax. Bring your friend along – you’ll distract each other and will double the positive outcome. Also, have your favorite music with you or watch an episode of your favorite show. It will make time fly by.
- Breathe. Breathing will calm down your nervous system and will enrich erythrocytes with oxygen.
- Save Lives. Feel happy about your altruistic act.
- You’ll spend 15-20 in refreshment & recovery area. Most likely you’ll get juice, cookies or other snacks.
- It’s important to not only eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals after giving blood, but you should also drink extra fluids for the next 2 days.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol for 24 hours.
- No heavy lifting or vigorous cardio for 24-48 hours. You can take long walks and do yoga or gentle stretches.
- On top of the list of foods to eat after donating blood should be products rich in iron : fish, poultry, lean meat, black beans, spinach, asparagus, eggs. Iron helps hemoglobin production. It is also very important in the healing of injuries to the soft tissues and helps break down protein and promotes growth.
- Vitamin B12 is essential for the development of red cells and promotes nerve cell regeneration. Mushrooms are packed with B12 as well as sardines, lamb, feta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and nutritional yeast are excellent sources of this fundamental vitamin.
- Nuts – enrich your body with vitamin B-6 and folate. You can choose peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts. For example, a handful of cashews have high content of protein and carbohydrates compared to other nuts.
- Foods rich in vitamin C are recommended to eat after donating blood which will increase iron absorption.
Remember to Stay Hydrated
Immediately after your donation, expect to be offered a snack. In fact, if you’re a frequent blood donor, you might wonder why donation centers dole out cookies, chips, crackers and such.
It’s nice to treat yourself for doing good, but there’s more to it than that. When you eat salty snacks, you’re inclined to drink something — and hydrating after donating blood is really, really important to keep you from becoming lightheaded.
“The highest risk time for fainting is within 15 minutes of donation — that’s when your body is squishing fluid back into your veins, so the cookie is just an excuse to make you drink something,” says Jed Gorlin, MD, MBA, medical director and vice president of medical and quality affairs for Innovative Blood Resources in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Help yourself to bottled water, juice or a sports drink to replenish some of the fluid you lost by donating blood. Or better yet, bring your own reusable water bottle (that’s already filled) from home to drink when you’re done.
And don’t stop pumping fluids after you leave the donation center. Try to boost your fluid intake for the next 24 to 48 hours, per the nonprofit Advancing Transfusion and Cellular Therapies Worldwide (AABB), which represents blood banks.
Aim for an extra eight 4-ounce glasses of liquid in the 24-hour period after donation, the American Red Cross advises. That’s 32 ounces, or nearly one liter, above and beyond what you would normally drink.
Most people’s hydration levels will be back in balance within 24 hours, Dr. Gorlin says. Pay extra attention to your fluid intake if you live or work in a hot environment, or if you’re working out.
“If your urine is clear, you’ve done a great job of hydrating,” Dr. Gorlin says.
What Not to Do After Donating Blood
Blood donation is very safe, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t do something that’s going to compromise your health. The Red Cross recommends that you:
- Avoid alcohol for 24 hours.
- Skip the heavy lifting and vigorous exercise during that time period.
- Don’t put yourself in positions (like climbing ladders) where fainting might lead to injury.
Some people aren’t affected too much by blood donation, while others get wiped out, Yeung says. “You have to listen to your body.”
Most blood draws cause minimal side effects. However, it’s possible you could experience some of the following:
- lightheadedness (especially after donating blood)
- skin irritation from tape or adhesive from an applied bandage
Most of these will subside with time. If you still experience bleeding from a puncture site, try holding pressure with a clean, dry gauze for at least five minutes. If the site continues to bleed and soak bandages, see a doctor.
You should also see a doctor if you experience a large blood bruise known as a hematoma at the puncture site. A large hematoma can block blood flow to the tissues. However, smaller (less than dime-sized) hematomas will often go away on their own with time.
Even if you’ve had a small amount of blood drawn, there are still steps you can follow to enhance how you feel afterward:
- Keep your bandage on for the recommended amount of time (unless you experience skin irritation at the puncture site). This is usually at least four to six hours after your blood draw. You may need to leave it on longer if you take blood-thinning medications.
- Refrain from doing any vigorous exercise, which could stimulate blood flow and may cause bleeding from the site.
- Eat foods rich in iron, such as leafy green vegetables or iron-fortified cereals. These can help replenish lost iron stores to build your blood supply back up.
- Apply a cloth-covered ice pack to your arm or hand if you have soreness or bruising at the puncture site.
- Snack on energy-boosting foods, such as cheese and crackers and a handful of nuts, or half of a turkey sandwich.
If you do experience any symptoms that you’re worried are out of the ordinary, call your doctor or the location that did your blood draw.
Advantages Of Donating Blood
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. requires a blood transfusion, according to the American Red Cross. The benefits of donating blood include helping people injured in accidents, undergoing cancer treatment, and battling blood diseases, among other reasons.
Unfortunately, current blood shortages are leading to delays in critical blood transfusions for people in need. In January 2022, the American Red Cross announced that it was facing its worst blood shortage in a decade amid the Omicron surge. This spring, the New York Blood Center said it has been experiencing an alarming drop in donations due to school spring breaks and holiday travel. These shortages are occurring as COVID rates are once again rising. This is why blood donors are needed now more than ever before.
“Donating blood saves lives,” says Dr. Robert DeSimone, director of transfusion medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who is encouraging people to do their part and make an appointment to donate.
“For as long as medicine has been around, we’ve had to rely on the goodness of other people to give us blood when we need it,” says Dr. Sarah Vossoughi, the medical director of apheresis and associate director of transfusion medicine and cellular therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “We really need people who want to come and donate. The fact that we can store blood and use it when we need it in parts—whether you need the red cells, the plasma, or the platelets—has been a huge medical advance.”
While blood donors don’t expect to be rewarded for the act of kindness, rolling up your sleeve comes with some surprising health benefits. Here’s what you get when you give blood:
A Free Health Screening
“By going to donate blood, you are getting a mini-physical,” says Dr. DeSimone.
Before you are allowed to donate, your vital signs will be checked to make sure you are fit enough for the procedure. This exam might turn up a condition that needs medical attention, such as high blood pressure or a heart arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation. In addition, you’ll be screened for infectious diseases you may be unaware of.
“If we detect an issue with your vital signs or another health issue, we would direct you to go to a physician at that point to be checked,” Dr. DeSimone says.
The health screening will also reveal if you have a rare blood type. This information can be useful if you ever face surgery or another medical situation in which a transfusion may be required. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your donation is particularly needed.
A Healthier Heart and Vascular System
Regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks. “It definitely helps to reduce cardiovascular risk factors,” says Dr. DeSimone.
What’s the connection? “If your hemoglobin is too high, blood donation helps to lower the viscosity of the blood, which has been associated with the formation of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke,” Dr. DeSimone says. “Interestingly, these benefits are more significant in men compared to women. We think maybe it’s because women have menstrual cycles, so they do it naturally without donating blood.”
People with a condition called hereditary hemochromatosis must have blood removed regularly to prevent the buildup of iron. Fortunately, this blood can benefit others.
“These are essentially healthy patients who are otherwise normal, but they have a gene mutation where they make too much blood, and they make too much normal blood,” Dr. Vossoughi says. “So we can use that blood.”
The New York Blood Center Hereditary Hemochromatosis Program allows people with hemochromatosis to donate blood rather than have it removed and thrown away. “Instead of having to go to a clinic or go to one of our phlebotomy centers every few months to reduce their blood volume, they can go to any local blood drive,” Dr. Vossoughi says. “That blood will then be used for somebody who needs it.”
A Happier, Longer Life
One blood donation can save up to three lives, according to Dr. DeSimone. People usually donate because it feels good to help others, and altruism and volunteering have been linked to positive health outcomes, including a lower risk for depression and greater longevity.
“Giving blood is a way to engage in the immediate community and help people around you,” Dr. Vossoughi adds. “People who do these types of things and engage in their community in this way tend to have better health and longer lives.”
It is also a way to feel that you have positively helped during the COVID-19 crisis. Donating blood is safe if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine. It is also safe if you have had COVID-19, though you must be symptom-free for two weeks and have not had a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, Dr. DeSimone says. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms like a fever or cough, do not give blood. Donating blood is safe as donors are socially-distanced and required to wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth, regardless of vaccination status.
Added Bonus: A Calorie-free Snack
“For one blood donation, it takes your body about 500 calories to replace it,” Dr. Vossoughi says. Thus, the juice and cookies you’re offered after giving blood are a “zero-calorie snack,” she says. If you prefer, go for a fancy dessert instead!
Blood Donation Tips
If you plan to give blood, follow these steps:
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated makes it easier to find your veins and prevents you from becoming light-headed after donating, Dr. Vossoughi says.
- Eat well beforehand. Don’t skip breakfast, and be sure to eat snacks offered to you. “These things will help you tolerate the donation well and feel like yourself the rest of the day,” she says.
- Exercise before donating blood, not afterward. It’s OK to go to the gym before you donate blood but not so wise afterward. “We don’t want people getting dizzy,” Dr. Vossoughi says. “You’ve basically done your workout for the day once you’ve donated blood.”
- Take iron tablets. The American Red Cross recommends that individuals who donate blood frequently take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron. “More and more, we’re recommending that teenage donors in particular take iron, because it’s been shown that teenage donors may become iron deficient after blood donation,” Dr. DeSimone says.