Donating blood is safe if you go through the proper channels and follow guidelines. The Red Cross uses new, sterile needles that are discarded after 1 use and uses safe blood collection techniques to prevent infection. While guidelines vary by state, the basic requirements for donating blood are:
- Being healthy and feeling well.
- Being at least 16 to 17 years old (varies by state).
- Weighing at least 110 pounds.
- Not donating blood within the past 56 days (some exceptions with different types of blood donations).
Search other eligibility requirements at redcrossblood.org.
Most people have little or no reaction to donating blood. However, call the blood donor center if you have any of the following symptoms after donating, including:
- Nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness after resting, eating and drinking water.
- A raised bump, continued bleeding or pain at the needle-stick site when you remove the bandage.
- Pain or tingling down your arm, into your fingers.
- Fever, headache or sore throat (cold or flu), within 4 days after your blood donation. Bacterial infections can be transmitted by your blood to another person via transfusion, so it’s important to contact the blood donor center so that your blood won’t be used.