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Donate Blood

Donate Blood

Frequently Asked Questions about Donating Blood


    Who may donate blood?Generally, anyone in good health can donate. Make sure you do not have a cold, flu or sore throat at the time of donation.
    Where can I donate blood?To find your nearest donation site, please click here.
    How old do I have to be to donate?You must be 17 years old. In New York State and New Jersey State, you can be 16 years old with parental permission. Click here to display the Parental Consent Form.
    Is there a maximum age limit for donating blood?A person may donate up to age 75. At age 76 the donor must provide a letter yearly from his/her private physician indicating that he/she is in good health and capable of donating a pint of blood.
    How much blood do I have in my body?The average adult has between 8-12 pints. You can easily spare one.
    Do I need identification when I come to donate?Yes, bring some form of official identification with your name and signature or a photo id.
    How much do you have to weigh to donate blood?The minimum weight for donating whole blood is 110 lbs. There is no maximum limit. If you are female and donating double red blood cells, you must be 5’5” tall and weigh 150 lbs. if you are a male and donating double red blood cells, you must be 5’1” tall and weigh 130 lbs.
    I have been turned away in the past for having low iron, should I still try to donate?Yes, as part of the medical screening process we will take a drop of blood and check your hemoglobin level to ensure that you have enough to donate.
    Can I donate if I have high blood pressure?Yes, as long as your blood pressure is within our acceptable criteria of 180/100. If you are taking medication to control your blood pressure, be sure to continue to take it as prescribed by your physician. Also, know the name of the medication when you come to donate.
    I have allergies, will that stop me from donating?You can donate unless you have a sinus or respiratory infection. If you are taking any medication, please know the name of the medication so you may be evaluated by a health care professional at our donor center.
    What kinds of medication will prevent me from donating? We will want to know if you are taking a medication, including any of the following medications, and why you are taking it. Each donor will be evaluated on an individual basis:

Accutune Proscar
Avodart Soriatane
Insulin Tegison
Propecia  
    Can I donate after having a flu shot? Yes, there no longer is a deferral for any influenza vaccine, including vaccines for seasonal influenza and H1N1. Listed below are some common vaccinations and the waiting period before donating

Vaccination: Length of Wait:
Chicken pox vaccine 30 days
Hepatitis B vaccine 3 days
Lyme vaccine No wait
Measles 30 days
Mumps 30 days
Rubella (German measles) 30 days
Tetanus Toxoid (preventive) No wait
    Can I donate if I have diabetes?People whose diabetes is under control with oral medication and/or diet can donate. Donors who take insulin must know the name of the insulin and their diabetes must be under control.
    How long do I have to wait after having my ears pierced or getting a tattoo?You may donate if you had your ears pierced (or any type of body piercing) or got a tattoo as long as it was performed in a licensed facility under sterile conditions. If the piercing was performed in an unlicensed facility, or in non-sterile conditions, you must wait one year before you can donate.
    I just returned from a cruise to the Caribbean, could I donate now?It depends upon where you traveled in the Caribbean. Haiti and parts of the Dominican Republic are considered endemic for malaria. You must wait a minimum of one year before giving blood. Please contact us for specific information regarding your travel itinerary.
    I heard you are not taking people who have lived in or traveled to England?Anyone who lived in or traveled to the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands) for a total of three months or more from 1980 to 1996 is not eligible to donate. This is a federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation for all blood banks. This regulation is related to the possible transmission of New Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD), a disease of the brain that has been identified in Europe. It is believed that people have been infected with this disease (Mad Cow Disease) through eating infected beef. There have been no documented cases of this disease being transmitted by blood transfusions, but the FDA initiated this regulation as a precaution.
    I have a heart condition, can I donate?It depends upon your diagnosis. You will need to be interviewed by one of our specially trained health care professionals to evaluate your condition. We suggest that you also consult your personal physician.
    Can I get AIDS from donating blood?No. There is no risk of getting AIDS or any other disease from giving blood. We use sterile disposable equipment to take your blood. A brand new needle is used for each blood donation. Once it is used, the needle is destroyed.
    How long does it take to donate?The donation process includes registration, a brief medical screening, the blood collection, and time for refreshments in the canteen. For whole blood the entire donation process usually takes about one hour. It can take a little longer for platelets or double red cells.
    Can I eat before I donate?Yes, we prefer if you eat within 4 hours of donating.
    How long will it take to replace my blood?The body will replace the fluid portion of your blood within 24 hours. It will take a few weeks to replace the red blood cells.
    How often can I donate blood?Whole blood donors may give once every 56 days in order to allow plenty of time to replenish their red cells. Double red cell donors can give every 112 days, and platelets donors can give in 1 week.
    What will I feel like after I donate?Most people feel fine. After donating, drink extra liquids for the next 2 days.
    What happens to my blood after I donate?Your blood will undergo rigorous testing procedures. In addition to blood typing, the tests include screening for hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
    How will my blood be used by patients?The unit of blood you give may be used to help save up to 3 lives. Your blood can be separated into red cells, platelets, and plasma. Red blood cells are used to treat patients who are anemic. Plasma can be used to treat patients in shock due to fluid loss as a result of burns. Platelets are used to help treat patients with leukemia.
    Will I find out my blood type?Yes. After your donation you will be sent a blood donor card with your blood type and cholesterol level printed on it.

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The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research has a page on its web site for “Frequently Asked Questions” that you may find useful in answering question about FDA policies for donors and other members of the public.

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