How often can you donate blood?
The American Red Cross recommends donors wait at least 8 weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood. Power Red and platelet apheresis donations work differently.
What should you eat before donating blood?
Iron-rich foods are the key here. Red meat, beans, seafood, dark-green leafy vegetables like kale or spinach, or poultry all work fabulously. You'll want to drink an extra 16 oz. of fluid prior to your donation (booze doesn't count), and eat a healthy meal beforehand.
Can you donate blood if you have a tattoo?
Yes, but this is tricky, so be sure to get it right before you go. Due to hepatitis-related concerns, in the United States you cannot donate blood within 12 months of getting a tattoo if your state does not regulate tattoo facilities. (States that do not include Washington D.C., GA, ID, MD, MA, NV, NH, NY, PA, UT and WY.) Tattoos done in all other states -- so long as they were applied in licensed establishments using sterile needles and ink that was not reused -- are fine. If you have questions, always ask the folks taking your information when you give blood.