Q: Why should I donate blood?
A: The need for blood affects us
all. One out of three of us will need blood some time in our
lives. And one out of every ten hospital patients requires a
transfusion. Donors also report feeling a great deal of
satisfaction because they are helping to save up to 5 lives by
giving just one pint of blood. Blood has a shelf life from 5
to 42 days and is in constant demand for accident victims,
burn victims, surgery and cancer patients, and people with sickle
cell anemia and hemophilia.
Q: Who may donate blood?
A: Donors must be at least 17 year's
old, weigh at least 110 pounds and not have donated blood within
the last 56 days. People over 75 can donate blood if they meet all
criteria and present a physician’s letter. There are some medical
conditions that can keep you from giving blood. The guidelines are
set by federal, state and local health agencies.
Q: Do I need my parents’ permission to
A: You can donate blood at age 17. In New Jersey,
seventeen-year-olds must have written permission from their parents
or guardian, in New York parental permission is not required.
Q: What do I need to bring to donate
identification showing proof of age, your signature, and
/ or your photo. If possible, bring a friend! Friends equal twice
the number of donors, and help you to feel more relaxed at the
Q: What do I get in return for my blood
A: Blood is immediately prepared for transfusion to patients
in hospitals throughout the community.
- You get a free mini-medical examination including a blood
- You get an identification card showing your blood group and Rh
- You become a member of our Gallon Club when you give eight
Q: Is there a substitute for blood?
A: Absolutely not. The human body is the only "manufacturer"
of this precious fluid - literally, the "Liquid of Life." All of
the money or insurance in the world is valueless if the right type
of blood is not available in an emergency.
Q: Why is it important to check the
racial/ethnic background box on the donor registration form?
A: Blood types are inherited, much like eye color and hair
color. A small percentage of people inherit unusual combinations of
antigens. These antigens may appear in various combinations
and the presence or absence of specific antigens may categorize a
blood type as being 'rare'. Because blood types are inherited,
certain rare blood combinations may be found in specific ethnic and
Before donating blood I’d like to
Q: Is there anything special I need to do
before my donation?
A: Eat at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of
fluids. Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin,
for at least 72 hours before your scheduled appointment.
Q: How often can I give blood?
A: You can give whole blood every 56 days.
Q: What will happen first?
A: You will be asked to provide some basic information such
as your name, address, age, social security number and so on. You
must also show us your ID. A medical history is taken and then a
drop of blood is analyzed for hemoglobin content. Your pulse, blood
pressure and temperature will also be checked.
Q: How long does the donation take?
A: The procedure is done by a skilled, specially trained
technician and takes seven to ten minutes. You will give a little
less than one pint of whole blood. You will rest after the donation
and be served refreshments. Plan to spend about an hour at the
Q: Does the needle hurt the entire
A: There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted,
but there should be no pain during the donation.
Q: How long will it take to replenish the
A: Your body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24
hours. Red cells need about four to eight weeks for complete
Q: How will I feel after the
A: Most people feel great! Donors who know what to expect
and have eaten regular meals before donating are usually fine.
After donating, drink extra fluids for the next 48 hours. Smokers
are asked not to smoke for 30 minutes after donating.
Q: Can I donate during my menstrual
A: Yes, if you’re feeling well.
Q: How soon after donating can I practice
A: After you give blood, you will relax and have a snack.
You can then resume full activity as long as you feel well. Just
avoid heavy lifting, pushing or picking up heavy objects for at
least four or five hours after giving blood.
Q: What happens to my blood after
A: After donation, your blood will be tested for blood type,
hepatitis, HIV, HTLV , and syphilis. Then it can be used either as
whole blood for one patient or to help several patients.
Q: Is it true that I can get AIDS if I
A: NO. You cannot get AIDS or any other disease by giving
blood. The materials, including the needle used for your donation,
are new, sterile, disposable and used only once by you for your
Q: What is a unit of blood?
A: A unit of blood is a little less than one pint
(approximately 500 milliliters). The average adult has between
eight and twelve pints and can easily spare one.
information is derived from material published
by the New York Blood