Alcohol Consumption Before and After Blood Donation

Alcohol Consumption Before and After Blood Donation

Alcohol intake before blood donation

Blood donation is also known as blood banking and collectively is the name given to the collection, testing, preparation, and storage of whole blood and components intended primarily for use in blood transfusion. When planning for blood donation sometime we get confused about what to take before undergoing blood donation. Also after donation, we are also confused about what to take we are forced to ask the doctor if we can consume alcohol after blood donation.

The Reasons for Having A Blood Donation

Blood donated and which is safe saves lives and boosts the health of the receiver. Therefore blood donation is required for reasons such as:

  • When women are faced with pregnancy problem such as ectopic pregnancies and bleeding before, during or after having given birth.
  • For treatment of extreme Anemia which often tends to lead to malaria or malnutrition.
  • When treating people who have suffered from trauma from artificial or natural calamities.
  • For many complicated, surgery processes and cancer patients.

The donation of blood by someone can be used to save lives while at the same time being separated into several components such as the red cells, platelets, and plasma.

Guidelines for Donating Blood

  • One should eat regularly before blood donation which will help them to keep their blood sugar levels at stable levels. The food taken should be high in iron which includes meats and vegetables. This ensures one stays feeling well during and even after having the donation.
  • Since almost half of the blood is made up of water, to ensure that a person does not get dizzy and faint. Loss of the fluids while donating blood leads to the dropping of the blood pressure. One needs to drink adequate water before to ensure the blood volume gets back to normal after.
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption before and after donation as this may lead to issues with hydration levels and makes recovery to take long.
  • A person should keep away from heavy exercises such as heavy lifting the day before going for the donation or after. One should keep the body at rest which gives it the opportunity to recover the fluids one loses during the donation. Though light exercises such as light walking are fine it should not be for long distances.
  • One should have a full night's sleep of 7 to 9 hours before going for the blood donation. It keeps the body more alert while donating at the same time minimizing the chances of keeping feeling well.

Can We Consum Alcohol Before Blood Donation?

For anyone who has ever donated blood, they fully know that if they happen to have taken any alcohol they cannot give blood during blood donation. Consumption of any alcoholic drinks for the next twelve hours after donating blood should be avoided.

Alcohol has the following effects or influence on a person's blood and the general health of the blood. Taking a lot of alcohol raises the blood's pressure to levels which are not healthy. If someone drinks a minimum of three bottles in a single sitting, it will lead to the rising of the blood pressure.

  • The consumption of alcohol excessively causes permanent effects on the blood and the heart. In addition to the permanent effects that can affect someone, alcohol also leads to effects which are short-lived to the body. While having ingested some alcohol into one's body system, one may lose proper judgment, have reduced vehicle control, some blurred vision, and distorted hearing capability.
  • These effects are lost once the alcohol disappears from the body system, for someone who drinks alcohol and donates blood they are more prone to these effects more than other people who do not drink alcohol.
  • Ingestion of alcohol enlarges the blood vessels; this tends to make the blood to be obtained to flow to the brain. When this happens it may lead to dizziness and collapsing which may turn out to be harmful to a person for a long period.
  • A person has to drink sufficient water to compensate for that which has been lost to reduce the possibility that one will face a blood pressure change. The blood pressure swing leads to loss of balance or one becomes unconscious and they faint.
  • The effects of partial blood donation where one donates plasma or any other blood components are not as big as for a whole blood donation and it needs not worry someone. Drinking before the donation of blood, one should wait until the BAC or Basic Alcohol Content is back to zero %. This makes sure that one minds the well-being of the receiver of the donation and it is not compromised. A person has to wait until they are fully sober.
  • If one is prescribed to Disulfiram or Antabuse or within a span of 7 days after stopping its use. This is due to the reason that Antabuse can lead to reactions to the blood receiver who has blood which has alcohol content in it.

Can We Consume Alcohol after Blood Donation?

After donation, one should stay away from taking alcohol for a span of 24-36 hours of a whole blood, or donating plasma, since it leads to getting drunk very easily. There is a need to wait for 48 hours.

After donating blood, it is essential to follow the post-donation guidelines which include the requirement to stay away from any alcoholic beverages for at least 12 hours after the donation of blood. There is a need to take care of one's body system to ensure that it replenishes nutrients and the blood cells. This is necessary for the blood donating procedure.

After a whole donation of blood, a person's blood volume decreases and the body system, in turn, shifts the water into the blood system to ensure full compensation for the pressure loss. This is the reason one tends to feel thirsty and they have an urge to drink water. If one drinks alcohol instead of water, the alcohol goes ahead to affect the blood pressure, this then causes dehydration worsening further.


If it happens you want to donate blood it important to know that it’s discouraged to donate blood after alcohol intake because of the effects which comes with it. For alcohol consumer it advised to avoid consuming alcohol after blood donation to keep your body hydrated.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad