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If the thought of donating blood makes you uneasy, you're not alone. Fear can hold us back from incredible experiences and opportunities. One of the most common fears is that of needles or medical procedures, making the prospect of blood donation daunting.

However, most blood donors say they feel a mild, split-second pinch. Many who are bothered by that initial discomfort suggest looking away if that moment is stressful. Plus, you can multitask during the collection process. Put on headphones or start that book you’ve meant to read.

Whatever you choose, don’t succumb to your fear of donating blood. Remember the many benefits, such as saving lives and how amazing you’ll feel knowing you helped others. You even get a free health screening when you donate, and you can keep track of your pulse, hemoglobin, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

To ensure a positive and empowering experience for first-time and returning donors, here are some practical tips on overcoming any anxiety you may have:

•    Focus on the cause: Remind yourself that a moment of discomfort is a small price to pay for the significant impact your donation will have on someone’s life.

•    Let the staff know: If you’re stressed or uncomfortable, tell your donor care professional. They understand it’s perfectly natural to feel uneasy, and they’re trained to help ease your anxiety.

•    Take your time: Don't rush out immediately after your donation. Relax and enjoy the free cookies and snacks. This allows your body to adjust and replenish some of your fluids and minimizes the risk of post-donation dizziness.

Now, let’s address some common concerns:

What if I Pass Out?

For one, this is unlikely to happen if you prepare by drinking plenty of fluids and eating a healthy, nonfat meal before your donation. But if you do feel dizzy, know that your safety is our top priority, and our friendly and highly trained staff are there to assist. You can sit or lie down as long as you’d like and eat or drink to replenish your energy. Once you feel better, you’re free to go about your day.

I’m Not Sure I Qualify

Most people are eligible to give blood. If you feel healthy, you likely can. But feel free to check out our eligibility requirements.

If you happen to be deferred from donating now, keep in mind that blood donation deferrals can be short-term and on rare occasions, they are longer-term. Still, the good news is that most blood donation deferrals don’t permanently disqualify you. Most of the time, these deferrals are temporary. If you’re told you can’t donate on the day of your donation, come back and try again on a different day (if your hemoglobin level or blood pressure is consistently off, you should consult your physician).

What if I Have a Bad Reaction?

Most people feel fine after donating blood, and adverse reactions are uncommon. Even when they do happen, most are minor and go away quickly. At Vitalant, you’re always in good hands, and we will do everything we can to ensure your experience is as comfortable as possible. Before you donate, Vitalant will provide you with important information to help you prevent or minimize the risk of any reactions.

I Might Catch a Horrible Disease!

That is a myth — donating blood is perfectly safe. Sterile, disposable needles and supplies are used once and then properly disposed. You can’t contract any infectious disease by donating blood. It’s safe for patients too. Your blood gets tested for HIV, syphilis, and several types of hepatitis, among other infections. If your blood tests positive, it will not be given to a patient and you will be confidentially notified.

But What About COVID-19?

Our top priority is the safety of our donors, patients, staff and volunteers, so we continue to take important steps to support the health and well-being of everyone who supports our lifesaving mission. While masks are optional (except where required by blood drive host preferences or local regulations), Vitalant will continue to help those who need or prefer to wear a mask and will continue to have complimentary masks available.

Once you’re finished donating blood, relax and bask in that incredible feeling you get from knowing you made a huge difference in someone else’s life. After all, very few things you can do will make you feel as amazing as that.


Though we strongly encourage you to try blood donation, you can also help by spreading the word on social media or bringing the conversation up with family and friends. Encourage them to face their fears and support patients in need. Find out how you can multiply your impact.

And speaking of which, you can even donate together. Not only will you have the emotional support of someone you know, but you’ll be doubling your impact on patients. Overcoming your fear of anything is a personal journey, and each donor’s experience is unique.

Your contribution makes a monumental difference for hospital patients. We hope to empower you to take that courageous first step toward saving lives. Don’t let an itty-bitty needle stop you from saving up to three lives. Learn more about blood donation.

Your bravery can change lives. Face your fears and schedule your blood donation appointment today.