Help! I want to give blood, but I can't...

Nurses General Nursing


About 4 years ago, I gave blood...I didn't have to great of an experience (not having an appropriate breakfast). I was about 80% of the way through when I started feeling lightheaded and they took out the needle.

Then about 2 years ago, I tried again (trying to eat a better breakfast) but I found myself feeling woozy all over again, remembering I guess. :eek: :eek:

Any advice would be appreciated, as I really would love to be able to give blood.



1,024 Posts

Are you dehydrated? I used to be a phlebotomist at a plasma center and that was the most common cause of people keeling over. Try to drink lots of fluids before you go next time...


renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

Drink tons of fluid one hour before you go -coffee or pop which can dehydrate you. Could be the culpit.



214 Posts

Yup--lots and lots of water a couple of hours before procedure! Orange juice can help, too. Meditation is some times helpful. My hubby had the problem of wooziness like you...he finally tried visualizing himself as relaxed and alert during the procedure...he found that this, and carrying on a dialog with the administering nurse during the procedure, really did the trick. Good luck and keep trying!

Peace and Brightest Blessings of the Season to you and yours,

Lois Jean


1,024 Posts

We always recommended milk, water, juice, or Gatorade. And in large quantities...if you don't go the bathroom every five minutes, it's not enough :).



245 Posts


I have dinky tiny deep veins, coupled with a tendency toward orthostatic hypotension, and I still give blood regularly out of some warped sense of civic duty. That, and the shiny little pin they gave me when I joined the Ten Gallon Club.

I schedule my donations at the end of the day, and all day long I drink AT LEAST one full glass of water or dilute juice per hour. Most people go through life slightly dehydrated, so this compensates somewhat. I also drink two quarts of water the day prior to my donation. I eat a healthier-than-normal lunch and then eat something for dinner (it doesn't seem to matter if it's healthy or not--just to top off the blood sugar) on my way to the blood centre.

Being well-hydrated helps substantially with both the technicians' ability to hit a vein on the first or at least the third try (there's quite a lot of scar tissue in there), and it also lessens the orthostatic hypotension. Also, try to avoid lying perfectly flat while donating--in the mobile drives, this sometimes isn't possible, since their portable tables usually only lie flat, but if you go to the central donation site, they usually have nice cushy donation chairs. Good luck!


111 Posts

Yup, later in the day is best for me also. I found out the hard way that I can't give blood in the a.m. Anything after 1 p.m., as long as I've eaten and had lots of water, has done the trick.


593 Posts

Thank you very much for the advice. I think I can handle the idea of making sure I am better hydrated; however, my biggest concern is the wooziness I feel when I think of how I felt that time. I'll have to try that meditation.


1,326 Posts

I get a little woozy too, I have found that donating in the afternoon helps deter this.

Also, while you should have some food in your stomach don't eat a large meal right before you go. For me, that's a sure way to end up unconscious. Not sure why this is so, but I imagine that most of your blood is aiding in digestion at that point.

I usually tell the phlebotomist before I begin that I am prone to feeling woozy and like I will pass out. They usually pay a little extra attention to me and will calm me down and assist if I holler that I feel ill. I've never had them stop taking blood though, usually I just yell that I don't fell well and they will come over and calm me down and put a cool cloth on my forehead and a plastic bag over my clothes just in case I vomit, which has never happened, and let it pass, then I feel all right.

For me the scary and uncomfortable thing is not feeling nauseated or woozy but feeling like I could pass out. It usually only lasts a few seconds though and I usually have enough warning that I can ask the phlebotomist to come over to me in case I do go out, so, it's not too bad. After the feeling passes I am just fine. I also tell the phlebotomist that once I am done donating and the needle is out I would like to lie there for a few extra minutes before I get up. (I once passed out just as I was standing up from the bed).

I'm sure if you tell the phlebotomist about your concerns and prior experiences they will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable and secure.


593 Posts

Thanks Colleen and everyone. Once I can get rid of this horrible chest cold that I've had for 4+ weeks, I would like to give it another try.


1,041 Posts

Don't worry about it. I am the same way. It's a psycho-somatic reaction to dying. My sympatetic nervous.sys rules, and when blood is detected leaving Mario, mario will always react. I have tried to give blood three times in my life. Eat right, plenty of fluids, don't matter with me. You start draining my Hb and by golly my body won't go for it.

it's a very calming feeling...kinda warm and still. Then this beautiful trumpet noise starts, and all i can do is listen to it more and more intensely. I can't move, and I just drift off to sleep listening to that beautiful trumpet

then the nurse is popping me in the face telling me to wake up. I do't need that in my life. The last time they told me NOT to try to give blood again. I won't.


593 Posts

Thanks Mario, but I think I have to give it another try.

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