By: Josefina Romano, DPS Marketing Coordinator & Blogger

DPS in partnership with CHI St. Luke’s Blood Donor Center is hosting their first Blood Drive to kick 2018 off in the best way possible, by helping others. If you’re a member of the Houston community and would like to sign up to donate blood on January 31st you can see more details and RSVP here! If you’re a first-time blood donor, it may be scary not knowing what to expect but being prepared and educated is the key to a successful donation. Here is what you can expect prior, during and after your blood donation:

Prior to Donation

First, realize that by donating blood you are helping save someone’s life and making a difference. Keeping this in mind will help you get over any fears and preconceived doubts that you may have. There are also some health benefits for you when you donate, such as receiving a mini-physical wellness check including checking your pulse, blood pressure and anemia among other things from a CHI St. Luke’s trained volunteer or professional.

To be well prepared before your donation try to eat iron rich foods such as red meat and fish 3 hours prior to your appointment to avoid feeling dizzy and fainting. It is also important to get a good night’s sleep and drink lots of water on your donation day.

The Donation Process

On the actual donation day on January 31st, remember to bring your donor card, if you have one, or a driver’s license. It is also required that you provide a list of any medications you are currently taking.

After you have registered and answered some basic questions about your health history you will move on the actual donation. A certified staff or volunteer will guide you through the process and will draw blood in a safe and sterile manner. You can expect a general blood donation to last somewhere between 8-10 minutes. Usually, after your donation you are provided with a refreshment and a sitting area to relax for a few minutes before you can go about your normal day. CHI St. Luke’s also tends to provide donors with a small thank you gift for your donation.

It is recommended that you drink an extra glass of water and avoid alcohol after your donation. You should eat another iron heavy meal and avoid heavy exercising and lifting for the rest of the day. If you experience any dizziness or lightheadedness, lie down until it passes.

What happens to your donation

Your blood donation is registered and stored safely until it is needed by a patient at the CHI St. Luke’s Medical Center. Once registered, your donation is processed and sent out for testing to determine the blood type and to test for infectious diseases. Test results are fully confidential and only shared with the donor. After your donation is deemed safe, it is stored in large freezers to preserve it for any future blood transfusions.

For more information on donating blood visit the CHI St. Luke’s Blood Donor Center.

Due to the overall supply of blood being limited, blood donors are needed every day. If you are interested in donating blood at the DPS Blood Drive on January 31, 2018 from 9a – 3p, register now for the DPS Blood Drive.