Blood Facts & FAQs
About the Donation Process
Donating Whole Blood
- You'll complete our short health questionnaire. The information helps us ensure you're healthy enough to donate. This is for your safety as well as for the patients who receive your blood components.
- Next you’ll get a mini-physical. A technician will check your blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and the iron level of your blood. It’s another way we protect your health.
- Finally, you’ll sit in one of our comfortable chairs, put your feet up and relax. A health care professional will draw your blood. The donation usually takes about 10 minutes.
Remember, you can donate whole blood every 56 days. That means you can save lives six times a year.
Make an appointment to donate whole blood
- You’ll complete our short health questionnaire. The information helps us ensure you’re healthy enough to donate. This is for your safety as well as for the patients who receive your blood components.
- Next you’ll get a mini-physical. A technician will check your blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and the iron level of your blood. Next, we’ll draw about a tablespoon of blood to determine your platelet count.
- Finally, you’ll be seated in one of our comfortable chairs and connected to the automated machine that collects the platelets and plasma while returning your red cells. The entire the process - from registration to refreshments - takes about two hours.
If you meet all the eligibility requirements, we’ll collect less than 10 percent of the billions of platelets in your body. You’ll replace these platelets in 24 to 48 hours.
Remember, you can donate platelets every 14 days. That means you can save local lives 24
times a year!
Make an appointment to donate platelets
Tips for a Successful Donation
Be sure to drink plenty of water the day before and day of donation. Also stay nourished with iron rich foods such as chicken, clams, dates, dried apricots, dried beans or peas, dried peaches, dried prunes or prune juice, eggs, enriched and whole grain breads, ham, iron-fortified cereal, liver, lean beef or pork, molasses (blackstrap), oysters, raisins, sardines, scallops, shrimp, tuna, veal and wheat germ.
Tests we perform
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) require that the following tests be performed on blood donated by volunteers. These tests are performed on every donation with CBCC:
- ABO / Rh testing – Determines blood type.
- Antibody screening – Looks for red cell antibodies that might cause a reaction in a patient.
- Infectious disease testing for:
- Hepatitis B virus (three tests) - Surface antigen test detects past and current infections. A positive screening test requires a confirmatory test. The core antibody test detects past infections.
- Hepatitis C (HCV) virus (two tests) – The antibody test detects past infections. A positive screening test requires a confirmatory test; the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAT) is for actual DNA of the HCV virus.
- HIV 1/2 Group O Testing - enzyme linked immunoadsorbent assay (ELISA) testing - This test will detect the antibody formed by exposure to either of the HIV-1 (Group M or O) and HIV-2 viruses. It takes about 22 days after exposure to develop the antibody. Confirmatory testing follows a positive ELISA test.
- Human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II – This combination test detects possible exposure to rare viruses that are associated with a form of leukemia and a chronic degenerative neurological disease. Confirmatory testing follows a positive HTLV I/II test. Even people with a positive test are rarely affected by the virus--only 1 to 4 percent who have a true positive will develop any disease.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virus types I and II viruses, enzyme linked immunoadsorbent assay (ELISA) testing - This test will detect the antibody formed by exposure to either of the HIV viruses. It takes about 22 days after exposure to develop the antibody. Confirmatory testing follows a positive ELISA test.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) NAT testing – Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAT) testing for actual DNA of the HIV virus. This test detects the virus as soon as 12 days after infection.
- West Nile virus NAT testing - Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAT) testing for actual DNA of West Nile virus.
- Syphilis testing – Determines exposure to syphilis. Confirmatory testing follows a positive syphilis test.
- Chagas Disease testing - Chagas disease is caused by a protozoan parasite found mostly in the continental Americas and primarily in Latin America. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that as many as 11 million people living in Mexico, Central and South America are carriers of the disease. The Chagas screening tests for the specific antibody produced by the immune system in response to the presence of the disease.
Compatibility chart for red cell transfusion
Answers to Commonly Asked Eligibility Questions
One of the things that keeps many people from donating blood is a misconception about their eligibility. In truth, there are very few things that may prevent an otherwise healthy person from donating. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about donor eligibility:
Can I give blood if I'm afraid of needles?
Most people do feel a bit of nervousness about blood donation. Most also say after their donation that they're 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.
Can I give blood if I have high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
As long as your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of your donation, you may give blood. Also, 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 while I'm on medication?
In nearly all 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.
Can I give blood if I'm diabetic?
Diabetics may donate blood as long as the 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 levels are normal (12.5 is an acceptable level) on the day of donation, you may give.
Can I give blood if I had cancer?
While some types of cancer may disqualify you from donating, there are many circumstances under which you may donate blood after an appropriate waiting period. Please contact CBCC for more information.
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 had a flu shot?
In fact, you may donate blood the same day you receive the vaccination.
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.
Save three lives with one 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.
Why Should I Give Blood?
Our Community Needs Blood Every Day
More than 400 blood products are needed each day to help area cancer, cardiovascular, trauma and transplant patients being treated in one of our 21 area hospitals.
While most people believe the need for blood is driven by disaster, the reality is more blood products are needed by patients in our local hospitals every day than has ever been required in response to any domestic disaster. All of the blood donated to CBCC is used here in our community to treat local patients.
Please donate regularly and help us make sure blood is available for our neighbors, family members and friends.
|Condition||No. units required for treatment|
high doses of chemotherapy
|16 units platelets each week|
|Liver transplant||10 units red blood cells, 13 units fresh frozen plasma, and 10 units platelets|
|Leukemia||10-12 units platelets each week|
|Automobile accident||4-40 units red blood cells|
|Heart transplant||2-4 units red blood cells|
|Hip replacement||2-4 units red blood cells|
Primary uses for blood products:
- Cancer patients
- Cardiac patients
- Transplant patients
21% of all patients in our hospitals depend on the availability of blood for their treatment.