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Arm Care and Post Donation FAQs

After my donation, I feel:

Pain or swelling of arm:

  • Some puffiness, swelling, or bruising at the site of donation is not unexpected.
  • To treat, you should apply cold compresses intermittently for 24 hours; after 24 hours, apply warm compresses several times a day. 
  • Bruising occurs when small amounts of blood leak out of the vein and pool in the tissue under the skin. Sometimes this pooling may occur away from the site of the donation and bruising under the arm and elbow will occur.  This blood will slowly be reabsorbed by the body and the bruising will dissolve within two to four weeks. As the bruises heal, the affected area often turns colors, including purple-black, reddish-blue, and then yellowish-green.

If you experience severe pain, red streaks, or pus around the donation site or it becomes warm to the touch, you should seek medical treatment from your health care provider.*

Weak and/or tired:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, eat a hearty meal and get plenty of rest.
  • In the summer months, avoid becoming overheated.

Dizzy/or nauseated:

  • If dizzy, you should sit down and lower your head or lie down, keeping your head lower than the rest of your body (elevate your feet).
  • Continue to drink fluids as tolerated to avoid dehydration.

If these symptoms continue for more than 72 hours, you may want to seek medical treatment from your health care provider.*

*If you receive medical treatment, please notify Risk Management at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at (713) 791-6345. Please leave a voice message and a Risk Management Representative will contact you.

If this is a non-urgent manner, please call between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

I have fainted or become ill every time I donate; what should I do?

Your body may not tolerate the donation process. If you have adequately prepared for your donation by drinking plenty of fluids and eating a good meal and still become lightheaded or faint, you should not donate again until discussing it with your health care provider.

If I donate often using the same arm, will I develop scar tissue?

Small amounts of scar tissue can develop around the site repeatedly used for blood donations and may make the donation process more difficult in the future. The degree of scarring varies by individual. Allowing the phlebotomist to use a different vein or different areas of the vein may reduce scarring.

I removed the arm bandage four hours after donating, and the donation site is still bleeding. What do I do?

Apply pressure to the site until bleeding stops. Then apply a bandage. If swelling occurs, apply ice. Be sure to avoid lifting with this arm.

I do not have a family physician; is there someone at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center who can provide medical treatment?

Because of scheduling difficulties, it is preferable that you seek medical treatment from another health care provider.

I don't have medical insurance, who will pay for my medical treatment?

Please contact Risk Management at (713) 791-6345 and one of our representatives will assist you with securing a medical evaluation. 

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