* Get a good night's sleep
* Have a good breakfast or lunch
* Drink extra water and fluids to replace the volume you will donate (avoid tea, coffee, or other beverages with caffeine)
* Eat iron-rich foods -- red meat, fish, poultry or liver, beans, iron-fortified cereals, raisins and prunes
* Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries, or ice cream before donating. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fatty materials -- lipids -- that appear in your blood for several hours after eating fatty foods. When this occurs and required testing cannot be performed, the blood may need to be discarded.
* Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow
* Show the staff any "good veins" that have been used successfully in the past to draw blood
* Take the time to enjoy a snack and a drink in the refreshments area immediately after donating
* Rehydrate by drinking plenty of fluids over the next 24-48 hours
* Avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for about five hours after donation
* If you feel light headed, lie down, preferably with feet elevated, until the feeling passes.