Step Four: Refresh
As the final post of the Inside Indiana Blood Center’s Donation Process mini-series, we would like to share with you the last and final step of the donation process—refresh.
The benefits of refresh are dual:
1) Allows the body to adjust
2) Provides the opportunity for immediate fluid and nourishment intake
It is highly recommended that you take a full 15 minutes to relax and take in nourishment. Sitting quietly helps your body’s ability to maintain a healthy blood pressure and heart rate, and give the body time to adjust to the mild decrease in the amount of blood in your circulation. Moving around, or even standing, too soon can make you uncomfortable since in the short term the body is slower to respond to the increased demand placed on your circulation by standing or walking. It is best to minimize the demand in the short term by taking a moment to rest before moving.
Fluids lost to blood donation are fully replenished within 24 hours, but increasing fluid intake during the first four hours after donation is most important. Eating and drinking plenty of fluids following blood donation are central to having a pleasant donation experience. Take in more fluids than usual; water is preferred, but any non-caffeinated nonalcoholic beverage will do.. For those not on low salt diets, salty snacks may help to hold those fluids. Keep in mind, moderation is key. Heavy eating may worsen any post-donation fatigue or lightheadedness, as blood will be diverted to your stomach and intestines to aid digestion.Eat several light meals throughout the day, and do not skip any meals (remember it is also important that you eat well before you come to donate – please do not skip a meal before you donate). It is also best to drink water slowly over a few hours, and avoid excessive caffeine (which causes you to lose fluids). Alcohol will also cause you to dehydrate, and is best avoided after blood donation.
Remember to eat a good, preferably iron-rich meal prior to donation. This too helps ensure the satisfaction of your blood donation experience.
And that’s a wrap. Four easy steps are all it takes and you will have someone’s undying gratitude.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Indiana Blood Center’s donation process. We encourage you to join our life-saving network by visiting DonorPoint.org to schedule an appointment to Raise Your Sleeve.