How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To be eligible to donate whole blood, platelets or plasma, you must be:

  • In good health.
  • At least 17 years old — the minimum age varies by state, with some states allowing 16-year-olds to donate with parent permission; there's no upper age limit.
  • At least 110 pounds.
  • Able to pass the physical and health history assessments.

The eligibility requirements are slightly different for double red cell donation. Check with your local donor center for specifics.

Get plenty of sleep the night before you plan to donate. Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fats that appear in your blood for several hours after eating fatty foods. Drink an extra 16 ounces (473 milliliters) of water and other fluids before the donation.

If you are a platelet donor, remember that you must not take aspirin for two days prior to donating. Otherwise, you can take your normal medications as prescribed.

May 30, 2014