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Are there any side effects of blood donation?

Team AckoJun 13, 2023

There are multiple misconceptions about blood donation that might discourage people from donating blood. However, that does not mean that there are no issues associated with it.

This article highlights the side effects related to blood donation so that you can make an informed decision regarding blood donation and not be irrational about it.

Side Effects Of Blood Donation



Most common side effects of blood donation

The process of blood donation doesn’t really have a lot of serious side effects. In fact, some people even argue that it can immensely boost your physical and emotional health. It has been linked to lower stress levels and a sense of well-being. Having said that, there can be some side effects as well. When it comes to side effects, here is what you can anticipate.

1. Bruising and pain

When the needle is poked into your skin it can leave a mark. You might develop a small bruise or some tenderness at the site. These effects tend to go away on their own within a week.

If you have any pain or swelling at the site, applying ice or a cool compress immediately is helpful. If it persists for over 3 days, your doctor may suggest switching over to warm compresses. However, if you feel it’s getting worse, check in with your doctor.

2. Dizziness or lightheadedness

If you have donated blood before, you may have seen that workers often suggest drinking water or eating something immediately afterward. At some centres, you may be asked to wait for about half an hour as well. This is because suddenly drawing blood can cause a drop in blood pressure and result in feeling faint or dizzy. Here are a few tips to prevent this.

  • Drink enough water before and after the donation process.

  • Eat a nutritious and filling meal before you reach the centre. Carry a small snack with you as well.

  • Avoid strenuous activities and intense exercise for two days after the process is completed.

  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours before and after donating blood.

  • Most importantly, be calm and relaxed throughout the process.

Sticking to these simple steps for a couple of days after donating blood also ensures that you recover well without any weakness.

3. Minor bleeding

Sometimes you may have a bit of bleeding at the site, especially if a larger gauge needle has been used. This is why workers usually apply a bandage at the site. The constant pressure helps keep the bleeding in check.

If you see that blood has soaked through the bandage you can apply external pressure for about 5 minutes to control the remaining bleeding.

Other side effects of blood donation

You might experience the following side effects as well. 

  1. Iron deficiency: Before you get worried, note this one very important statement. You won’t develop any iron deficiencies by donating blood once. This is mainly a concern for people who frequently donate blood every 2 to 3 months, especially if they aren’t conscious about their diet. If you donate blood often, make sure to include iron-rich foods in your diet. It’s also a good idea to take iron supplements or multivitamins to help your body recover.

  2. Rarely, low levels of protein and calcium may be seen in those who donate blood repeatedly. Research is ongoing to understand why this happens.

Blood donation in India

In an attempt to boost blood donation, drives are conducted frequently in several hospitals. One such drive was the ‘Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav’. This was a two-week drive across India from 17th September 2022 to 1st October 2022. These dates were picked because 1st October is National Voluntary Blood Donation Day in India. Over 2.5 lakh people donated blood this year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to blood donation.


Is it painful to donate blood? 

Well, it hurts just as much as you would expect a needle prick to hurt. The process of collecting blood is almost painless.

How long does it take to donate blood? 

There are steps to be completed before the actual donation. This includes filling out a registration form with your personal details and medical history, checking your temperature and blood pressure, and checking the injection site for any infections. The process of donation itself takes only about ten to twenty minutes. But you will have to rest for half an hour or so after that. You may be offered water, tea, or a snack at that time.

How much blood can I donate at one time? 

The standard procedure is to collect 350ml of whole blood in one sitting.

Can I get an infection from donating blood? 

Always make sure you donate blood in a hospital or a verified centre. That way you can be sure that the equipment used is sterile and that you will not develop any infections.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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