Blood Donation FAQs
What if I have other questions?
The Community Blood Center is happy to answer any questions you may have about donation. Please call (704) 972-4700.
Is it safe to give blood?
Yes. Donating blood is safe. The supplies used to collect your blood are sterile and only used once. You cannot get HIV or any other infectious disease from donating blood.
How much blood do you take?
One pint. Most people have 10-12 pints of blood in their bodies, and it starts regenerting immediately.
Will I feel sick afterwards?
Most donors have no ill effects aftert donation. Preparing for your donation helps ensure that you will feel fine.
Does it hurt?
Most donors feel only a little pinch and then experience no pain during donation. Our phlebotomists (the staff members who take the blood) are very well trained, talking you through the entire experience.
How often can I donate?
Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days. Red blood cells are the oxygen carrying cells. They can take two weeks or longer to fully return to normal.
You can donate platelets (apheresis donation) every two weeks – up to 24 times in 12 months. Platelet and plasma components are regenerated in the body more quickly than red cells. Platelets will return to normal levels within 24-48 hours of donating. Plasma, the watery substance of your blood, returns to normal levels after a couple of days.
You may donate double red cell units every 112 days.
Can I give blood if I'm afraid of needles?
Most people do feel a bit of nervousness about blood donation; but after their first donation, most say they are sorry they waited so long. Blood donation is a momentary discomfort for the donor that can provide a lifetime of difference for the patient.
Can I give blood if I recently got a tattoo or piercing?
Piercings do not disqualify you from donating blood as long as they were done with single-use, disposable equipment. Tattoos also do not disqualify you from donating if they were done with a single-use needle at a licensed facility. If not professionally done, you must wait one year to donate blood.
Is the blood tested for disease after collection?
All blood product collected are tested for blood type, antibodies and infectious diseases.
Can I exercise after donating blood?
After donation, you should avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours.
How long does it take?
The whole process usually takes about an hour to donate whole blood, and a little over an hour for double red cell donation. When donating platelets, the whole process takes approximately two hours. The blood donation itself usually takes 5-10 minutes for whole blood, 25 minutes for double red cell donation and 60-90 minutes for platelet donation.
What is the process?
Check out our donation proces on the Blood Donation 101 page.
Am I eligible to donate blood?
To donate blood you must be 16 years old or older and weight at least 120 pounds (16 year olds must have a parent sign our parental consent form). To donate platelets, donors must weigh at least 110 pounds. To donate double red cells, women must be 5'5" or taller and weigh at least 150 lbs; men must be 5'1" or taller and weigh at least 130 lbs.
Are the health history questions necessary every time?
Yes. Screening questions must be asked of all donors each time. This is an FDA requirement.
Will I get paid for giving blood?
CBCC does not pay donors for blood donations. Members of America’s Blood Centers (of which CBCC is a part) draw only volunteer, altruistic donors, who are historically the least likely to have infections that can be transmitted by blood.
How many lives can I save with my donation?
A single blood donation can save three local lives. Donated blood is processed, tested for blood borne diseases, and separated into its components. Each component has a specific use for patients that need blood transfusions. Platelet donors can also save up to three local lives by donating a highly-concentrated number of platelets which can be split among needy patients. Likewise, double red cell donors give a highly-concentrated number of red cells which are split between patients in need.
What are the three components my blood is separated into?
Your whole blood donation is separated into red cells, platelets and plasma. Red cells are used to replace blood volume that may be lost due to an accident, injury or illness. Platelets aid in the clotting process to prevent or stop bleeding and are used in the treatment of illnesses like cancer and for heart patients and transplant patients. Plasma is often used for burn victims or for the treatment of disorders such as immune system deficiencies.
Blood Type Questions
What is the universal blood type?
Type O negative is the universal donor for whole blood and can donate to any other blood type. Eight percent of the U.S. population has O negative blood.
AB positive is the universal recipient of whole blood and can receive blood from any other blood type. Two and a half percent of the U.S. population has AB positive blood.
Type AB blood is the universal platelet donor and can donate platelets and plasma to every other blood type. AB blood types make up 4 percent of the population.
Learn more about your blood type.
What if I don't know my blood type?
You do not have to know your blood type to donate blood. After your first successful donation with CBCC, you will receive an email with your blood type (if you provide a valid email address).
Can I take Aspirin before donating blood?
Aspirin is fine to take if you are donating whole blood or double red cells.To be eligible to donate platelets, you cannot take any Aspirin or drugs with aspirin-like compounds for 48 hours before your donation.
Can I give blood if I have high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
As long as your blood pressure is between 90-180 systolic (first number) and 50- 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of your donation, you may give blood. Medications that you may be taking for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating. A high cholesterol level does not disqualify you from donating, even if medication is used to control it.
Can I give blood if I'm diabetic?
Donors with diabetes, even those taking insulin, can donate, as long as all other medical requirements are met.
Can I give blood if I'm anemic?
Your hemoglobin (iron) level will be checked prior to donating blood. As long as your level is normal (12.5 is the minimum) on the day of donation, you may give. Your iron levels change daily based on your iron-rich food consumption.(Double red cell donors must have a hemoglobin of 13.3 or higher on the day of donation).
Can I give blood If I had cancer?
Most former cancer patients may donate blood once finished with treatment. Leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and multiple myeloma are permanent deferrals.
Can I give blood if I have seasonal allergies?
Allergies, even those that need to be controlled by medication, will not prevent you from donating blood.
Can I give blood if I have asthma?
You may donate blood if you have asthma, but if using an inhaler, it is required that you bring the inhaler with you when you donate.
Can I give blood if I had a flu shot?
You may donate blood the same day you receive the vaccination, as long as you are not experiencing any side-effects.
Can I give blood if I have epilepsy or seizures?
Epilepsy or seizures do not disqualify you from donating as long as you have had no seizures for one year.
Can I donate if I'm on antibiotics?
If you were on an antibiotic for an infection, you may donate if your antibiotics course was completed three days before donation and you are symptom-free. In some cases, low-dose antibiotics for acne and other long-standing conditions may be acceptable.
Can I donate if I've had a blood transfusion?
You will be eligible to donate one year after your last blood transfusion.
Can I donate if I have a cold, flu, sore throat or fever?
Because your blood may be going to immunte deficient patients, it is important that you wait to donate blood util you are feeling well, healthy and symptom-free.
Can I donate after a dental visit?
Wait 72 hours to donate after major dental work. There is no wait after a routine cleaning or filling
Can I donate if I've had malaria?
If you had malaria, you must be symptom-free for three years before donating.
Can I donate while on my menstrual cycle?
You may donate during your menstrual cycle.
Can I donate if I have mononucleosis?
You may donate blood after being released from doctor's care and are symptom-free.
Can I donate if I'm pregnant or nursing?
You must wait six weeks after delivery to donate blood, or one year if delivery required a blood transfusion. Nursing mothers may donate.
Can I donate if I have a sexually transmitted disease?
If you are symptom-free, you may still donate with chlamydia, genital herpes, trichmoniasis and veneral warts.
Can I donate if I have syphillis or gonorrhea?
Wait on year after completion of therapy to donate blood.
Can I donate if I've had surgery?
You may donate after surgery once you are released from the doctor's care as long as you did not receive a blood transfusion. If you received a transfusion, you must wait on year to donate blood.
Can I donate if I've had Hepatitis?
You may not donate if you had Hepatitis after age 10.
Can I donate if I have heart disease?
You may not donate if you have heart disease that left permanent damage.
May I donate with a history of drug addiction?
You may not donate if you have a history of drug addiction.
May I donate if I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should not donate because it is a debilitating illness that affects the brain and mutiple body systems.
May I donate if I've had a positive HIV/AIDS test?
No, you may not donate if you've tested positive for HIV/AIDS.
Can I give blood while I'm on medication?
In most cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as you are healthy and the condition is under control, it is very likely you will be able to donate. View our medication deferral list here.
Can I donate blood if I have sickle cell trait?
You can donate blood if you have the sickle cell trait; however, your blood cannot be given to sickle cell patients. It will still be used to save many other local lives in our community.
Blood Stats and Facts
How many blood products are used each day?
More than 400 blood products are needed in our community each day to help area cancer, cardiovascular, trauma and transplant patients being treated in one of our area hospitals. This is more blood than has ever been required in response to any single domestic disaster.
Where does my blood go?
When you donate with CBCC, your blood stays in the community. Every drop goes to the local patients in the hospitals that we serve.
What types of patients need blood the most?
Cancer patients are the number one recipient of blood products, followed by cardiac and transplant patients.
Can I donate if I've traveled internationally?
If you visited a malaria-risk area, you must wait one year to donate blood. If you are not sure about the malaria-risk status of an area, please check with CBCC staff.
Can I donate if I've immigrated from a country in a malaria zone?
You must wait 3 years after moving from the malaria-risk country before donating blood.
Can I donate if I've lived in Europe?
If you were in the military or a military dependent and lived in Europe for six weeks or more from 1980-1996, you may not donate blood due to the risk of mad cow disease. If you were a civilian living in the U.K. from 1980-1996 for three months or more, you cannot donate. If you were a civilian living in the rest of Europe from 1980-1996 for less than five years, you may donate.