Donation FAQs

Can anyone give blood?

Most people can. In general, anyone who is at least 17 years of age and in good health and weighs 110 lbs. or more is eligible to donate. Donors under 17 may donate donate blood with a parent/guardian’s consent.

You may NOT donate if you have had hepatitis, have a current heart condition other than a murmur, or have engaged in activities that may put you at risk for AIDS.

Should I donate if …?

You will be temporarily deferred if you have acute symptomatic flu, cold, or upper respiratory infection, have had close contact with a person with hepatitis in the last 12 months, have an active infection requiring medication, have been pregnant within the last six weeks, have traveled to a malarial zone in the last 12 months, if tests indicate your red cell level is too low or if you have been tattooed within the last 12 months. Additional restrictions for travel, recent US residence and medications may apply. Please call 1-888-723-7831 to make an appointment, and to inquire about these restrictions if they pertain to you.

How much blood will be taken?

475 mL. or 1 pint. This is 8-10% of the total in your system.

Does it hurt?

You will feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted. Most people do not find this uncomfortable.

Can my one little donation really help?

YES! Each individual donation can be separated into blood components (packed cells, plasma, cryoprecipitate) that can benefit multiple patients. Your donation helps save lives.

Who needs blood?

A small percentage of all hospitalized patients receive blood transfusions. The average use of each of these patients is about three pints. Leading users are patients with cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, fractures and trauma, anemia, bone and joint abnormalities, organ transplants, and lung, liver and kidney disease.

Can I get AIDS by donating blood?

NO! You CANNOT GET AIDS FROM DONATING BLOOD. All of the equipment used for the donation process is sterile, disposable, and used only one time and then discarded. There is no danger of contracting any infectious disease by donating blood.

How will I feel after donating?

Most people feel fine after donating. It is important to follow the instructions given to you to eat well, drink plenty of fluids and not over-exert yourself. Donors should not do heavy lifting or strenuous exercise, fly in airplanes or go scuba diving for a couple of days.

How often may I donate blood?

Donors ages 16-18 are eligible for a whole blood donation once every six months (180 days) or a double red blood cell donation (DRBC) once every 12 months (365 days). Donors 19 years of age or older are eligible for a whole blood donation every 56 days or a DRBC donation every four months.

Donors who give blood four times or more in a calendar year are eligible for our Four Seasons Donor Club and receive an attractive Four Seasons T-Shirt. Ask us about this when you donate!

How can I prepare for donating blood?

You can prepare for donating by following a healthful, low fat diet and getting a good nights sleep.

Drink plenty of fluids starting the day before you donate (caffeinated drinks do not count), and do not skip any meals. If your red cell level is low, you can raise it by eating foods high in iron or by taking an iron supplement. Visit our Hemoglobin and Your Health  and Iron and Blood Donation pages to learn more.