How will I feel after giving blood?

Dr Mark Porter / 16 January 2017

Dr Porter advises a reader who wants to know how long it takes to recover from giving blood.

Q: I have an appointment to give blood for the first time next week, but am off on holiday the week after. Will I have recovered by then?

A: I am glad to hear that you have started giving blood – the NHS needs 10,000 donations a day to meet demand for a service upon which many people’s lives depend.

The most likely thing you will notice is feeling a bit light headed due to the volume of blood taken (around a pint), but even this is unusual and normally settles within 12 – 24 hours as the body replaces the missing blood with fluid. The smaller you are, the more of an issue this is likely to be as the donated pint makes a bigger proportion of circulating volume (you must be over 50 kg – 7st 12lbs – to give blood).

It takes longer to replace all the red blood cells – weeks rather than days – but unless you a serious athlete used to pushing your body to the limit I doubt you will notice the reduced oxygen carrying capacity. Keep your appointment, drink plenty of water, and enjoy your holiday.

Visit for details on how you can become a donor.

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