First Timer’s Guide

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Every 10 Seconds…

Yet fewer than 5 percent of the people who are able to give blood actually do so – and most of them give only once a year.

That’s why the American Red Cross works so hard to recruit new blood donors. Because hospital patients throughout our state need your help.

Help is easy to give. All you have to do is take an hour and donate blood.

Every blood donation you make can help as many as three different patients. People rushed to hospitals after a trauma, children fighting leukemia, fire fighters who’ve been burned, grandparents needing heart surgery or hip replacement will help. People like the ones in your neighborhood, or in your own family.


When you donate a unit of blood, it is separated into its components. Each component meets a different medical need:

  • Surgery patients will use your red blood cells. Your red cells will last for up to 7 weeks under refrigeration.
  • Cancer patients or bone marrow transplant recipients need your platelets to prevent hemorrhaging. These fragile cells fragments last for only 5 days, and patients need platelets from as many as 6 to 10 donors for every transfusion.
  • Patients suffering burns, shock, or dehydration need you plasma. Plasma can also be transformed into a variety of products to combat shock, fight infections, or replace clotting factors for patients with hemophilia. A single transfusion for a patient with hemophilia can require literally hundreds of volunteer blood donors.

Be sure you eat a balance meal within four hours before you give blood. And get a good night’s sleep.
– You must be at least 17 years old, weigh 105 pounds and be healthy.
– Read “What You Must Know Before Donating Blood.”
– Complete you healthy history questionnaire.
– A friendly donor specialist checks you temperature, pulse, blood pressure and iron level.
– These steps determine whether you can donate blood today.
– Before you donate, let us know confidentially if we should use your blood.
– Your donor specialist will escort you to a donor bed.
– A new, sterile needle will be used. This will be discarded after your donation.
– Your actual donation will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
– The entire experience takes about one hour.
– Drink plenty of fluids after your donation.

And that’s all there is to it…

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