Red blood cells
Red Blood Cells are donut-shaped cells produced in the bone marrow that take up oxygen into the lungs, deliver it to all of your tissues. They also take carbon dioxide back to your lungs to be exhaled.
Each unit of Red Blood Cells, normally gets separated into several components and may be stored, refrigerated, for a maximum of 42 days.
White blood cells
White blood Cells acts as a primary defense line for the body against bacteria. While other types of White Blood Cells, can produce antibodies against protein antigens of foreign material.
Platelets are tiny, irregularly shaped cell fragments made in the bone marrow. They're needed in your blood to start the clotting process of small injuries to blood vessels. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are generally used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer.
Platelets are stored at room temperature and may be kept for a maximum of five days once collected.
Plasma carries blood cells, nutrients, enzymes, hormones, and complex proteins through your body. Its proteins are essential in helping your blood to clot.
Plasma is usually kept in the frozen state for up to one year.
- What are the most common reasons for not being able to give blood?
Medical conditions that can temporarily or even permanently keep a person from giving blood include:
Low hemoglobin (iron) level
Respiratory infection, cough, sore throat or cold/flu
Diarrhea or abdominal pain
Medications, You may check our Restricted Medications Chart (link to PDF doc.) to verify eligibility.
Travel to countries endemic for malaria. If you traveled to Europe in the 80’s - 90’s, please check with the donor services staff.
- Why do Hemoglobin (Iron) levels matter?
Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout your body via red blood cells.
- How can I improve my Iron levels?
If you have been told that you cannot donate blood because your hemoglobin (iron count) is too low, you may try some of the items listed below to help increase your iron count.
Grains - bread, tortillas, cooked cereal, dry cereal, English muffin
Meat - liver, fish, poultry, red meats, shellfish
Meat substitutes - egg, nuts, peanut butter, and cooked dry peas, beans, lentils, lima beans
Fruit - strawberries, bananas
Juices (canned) - tomato, apple, prune
Vegetables - raw dark leafy greens (spinach, collards)
Fast Foods - hamburger, cheeseburger, pizza (cheese or pepperoni), beef taco, bean/beef burrito
Having a low iron count is the number one reason why people cannot donate blood. The average woman needs 18 mg. of iron a day. The average man needs 10 mg. If you are unable to include more iron-rich food in your diet, check with your physician about a possible iron supplement.
- Is there a weight or age requirement?
Yes, you must weigh at least 110 lbs. and be at least 17 years of age. You can check our height and weight chart (link to PDF chart) to verify eligibility.
Whole Blood Donation
The whole process takes about 30 minutes, from start to end.
Actual donation takes 8-10 minutes.
Platelet Donation can take up to 2 hours from start to finish.
Is there anything I should do before I donate?
Eat! We recommend eating within three hours prior to blood donation to minimize the risk of not feeling well after donation.