At the American Red Cross we consider you our partner in providing a safe and adequate blood supply to the patients who need it. As our partner, we are concerned about your good health and making blood donation a positive experience. That means providing you with the information you need to be prepared and hopefully to become a return donor!
The following details what to expect when donating blood.
A trained Red Cross staff member will then conduct a mini-physical examination checking your temperature, your blood pressure and pulse, and a drop of your blood to be sure you have enough red blood cells to donate safely. The staff member will also ask about your past and present health and lifestyle, and we will answer any questions you may have. This interview is private and confidential.
Most people who are 17 or older, and who weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood, but depending on your answers, you may be deferred from donating, either temporarily or permanently.
If you are temporarily deferred from giving blood, please don’t give up! We hope you will return to donate blood once your deferral period is over.
Before the donation, we will cleanse an area of the arm you will be using to donate. All of the supplies, including the needle, are sterile and are used only once — for you.
At the start of the donation, you may notice a brief “sting” from the needle, but then you’ll rest comfortably. The donation usually takes about 10 minutes, and you will have given about a pint of blood when finished. Your body will replace the plasma (liquid part) in hours and the cells in a few weeks.
When you are finished, you will be given a form with post-donation instructions and a number to call if you decide after you leave that your blood may not be safe to give to another person.
It’s that easy. Before you head home, you’ll relax for a few minutes in our refreshment area and enjoy a drink and some snacks.
People seldom experience discomfort after donating. However, if you feel light-headed, lie down until the feeling passes. If some bleeding occurs after removal of the bandage, apply pressure to the site and raise your arm for three to five minutes. If bruising or bleeding appears under the skin, apply a cold pack periodically to the bruised area during the first 24 hours, then warm, moist heat intermittently.
If you have any questions concerning your donation or experience any unexpected problems, please call the American Red Cross at 1-800-843-2949, extension 7066.
To learn more, please visit, www.redcrossblood.org.