Blood donation is voluntary. You agree to have blood drawn so that it can be given to someone who needs a blood transfusion. Millions of people need blood transfusions each year.
The blood you donate gives someone another chance at life. One day that someone may be a close relative, a friend, a loved one—or even you.
Before Blood Donation
- Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals and raisins.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Drink an extra 16 oz. of water or nonalcoholic fluids before the donation.
During Blood Donation
- Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
- Relax, listen to music, talk to other donors or read during the donation process.
- Take the time to enjoy a snack and a drink in the refreshments area immediately after donating.
After Blood Donation
- Donors are usually kept at the donation site for 15 minutes after donating blood because most adverse reactions take place during or immediately after the donation.
- Donated plasma is replaced after 2–3 days. Red blood cells are replaced by bone marrow into the circulatory system at a slower rate, on average 36 days in healthy adult males.
- Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, and at least 110 pounds may donate about a pint of blood—the most common form of donation—every 56 days, or every two months, depending on iron levels. Females receive 53 percent of blood transfusions; males receive 47 percent.
- Four main red blood cell types: A, B, AB and O. Each can be positive or negative for the Rh factor. AB is the universal recipient; O negative is the universal donor of red blood cells.
- bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets.
- Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.
- 42 days is how long most donated red blood cells can be stored.
- Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O.
- 46.5 gallons of blood you could donate if you begin at age 17 and donate every 56 days (depending on iron levels) until you reach 79 years old.
- Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
You must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood.