Frequently Asked Questions in Blood Donation
● What are the minimum requirements to become a blood donor?
Generally, you must be at least 16 years of age, a minimum of 110 pounds, and in basic good health.
● Will donating blood hurt?
You may feel a slight sting in the beginning lasting only a couple of seconds, but there should be no discomfort during the donation.
● Can I get AIDS from donating blood?
No. There is no risk of contracting AIDS or any other disease through the donation process. Each collection kit is sterile, pre-packaged and used only once.
● Do I have enough blood in my body to donate?
Yes. The body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood. Your whole blood donation is approximately one pint.
● How much blood is taken during a donation?
For a whole blood donation, approximately one pint (which weighs about one pound) is collected. For a platelet donation, the amount collected depends on your height, weight and platelet count.
● How long will the actual donation process take?
A whole blood donation takes about 5-10 minutes. The entire donation process, from registration to post-donation refreshments, takes about one hour.
● Is there anything I should do before I donate?
Be sure to eat well at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluids.
● What is automation?
Automation is the process of removing a specific component of the blood, such as platelets, and returning the remaining components, such as red blood cells and plasma, to the donor. This process allows more of one particular part of the blood to be collected than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Automation is also performed to collect red blood cells, plasma (liquid part of the blood), and granulocytes (white blood cells).
The automated donation procedure takes longer than that for whole blood donation. A whole blood donation takes about 5 to 10 minutes while an automated donation may take about one to two hours.
● Who needs automated products?
Patients with cancer or leukemia, transplant recipients and patients with blood disorders need automated products.
● How often may I donate?
You may donate whole blood once every 56 days, which allows plenty of time for your red cells to be replenished. 3 donors may donate more frequently -- as often as once every seven days and up to 24 times per year. This is because the body replenishes platelets and plasma more quickly than red cells. Platelets will return to normal levels within about 72 hours of donating. Plasma (the liquid portion of your blood) will return to normal levels within two days. Red blood cells (the oxygen-carrying cells) will take approximately two weeks to reach their normal levels.
● Can I still donate if I have high blood pressure?
Yes, if your blood pressure in under control and within the limits set in the donation guidelines.
● Where can I donate blood?
Use the to find the blood donation center nearest you, and then contact the blood bank to make an appointment and find out what they require.
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