How you prepare

Eligibility requirements

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

  • In good health.
  • At least 16 or 17 years old, depending on the law in your state. Some states allow legal minors to donate with parent permission. While there's no legal upper age limit, policies may vary between individual donor centers.
  • At least 110 pounds.
  • Able to pass the physical and health-history assessments.

Eligibility requirements differ slightly between different types of blood donation, and from center to center. Check with your local donor center for specifics.

Food and medications

Before your blood donation:

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before you plan to donate.
  • Eat a healthy meal before your donation.
  • Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, french 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.