Donate Blood - Save a Life

Who Can Donate Blood?
If you are in good health, 17 years of age or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds, you will probably meet the medical requirements to give blood.  In most countries, there is no upper age limit for donors.  Please call your local, independent community blood center with any questions.

Temporary deferments may be necessary for those with colds, flu, recent pregnancy, surgery or serious illness.

pills.jpg (8695 bytes)Can People Taking Medications Donate Blood?
You will not be automatically deferred if you are taking medication.  Many medications are acceptable.  It depends on what medication you are taking and the condition for which it was prescribed.  Please consult your physician or ask your community blood center medical staff if you have questions about your eligibility to donate blood.

Will Travelling Abroad Make Me Ineligible to Donate Blood?
International travelers to countries in Central and South America and Africa with high concentrations of certain diseases such as malaria may be unable to donate blood for about one year.  Vaccinations for the measles, mumps and rubella may prevent people from donating for about one month.

What if I Have a Tattoo or Have My Body Pierced?
People who have recently received a tattoo must wait one year before donating blood.  It does not matter how many tattoos a person has, just when they last received one.

Body-piercing does not make a person ineligible to donate if done by a professional, licensed establishment.  Non-professional body-piercing prevents a donor from giving blood for about one year.

What Can I Expect as a First-Time Donor?
It's a quick step-by-step process. It takes about one hour.

STEP ONE:  Locate the nearest blood center. Schedule an appointment or you may go there directly. The average blood donation process takes about one hour from start to finish.  The actual donation takes six to eight minutes.

STEP TWO:  Register to donate.  .

STEP THREE:  Complete medical screening.  A medical professional will take your vital signs and ask you questions about your general medical health and lifestyle in a private setting. It is during this process that you may be temporarily or permanently deferred.  

STEP FOUR:  Prepare for your blood donation.  A medical professional will clean your arm and use a sterilized needle.  Each needle is used only once and then discarded.  There is no chance of contracting AIDS or any other communicable disease from donating blood.

STEP FIVE:  Relax in the canteen.  After you give blood, you will be asked to stay a minimum of 10 minutes.  During this time, you will be served refreshments, including juice and cookies, in order to raise your blood sugar and replenish your fluids.

STEP SIX:  Donate again!  You may give the gift of life as often as every eight weeks.

Instructions for Blood Donors After Donation

  1. Drink more liquids than usual in the next few hours.  No alcoholic beverages.
  2. Eat a hearty meal.
  3. Do not smoke for one half-hour.
  4. If there is any bleeding from the site where the blood was drawn, raise your arm and apply pressure.
  5. If you feel faint or dizzy, either sit down with your head between your knees or lie down with your head lower than the rest of your body.
  6. All normal activity may be resumed after one half-hour, if you feel well. However, avoid strenuous activity for the remainder of the day.
  7. The bandage may be removed after twenty-four hours.
  8. If you do not feel well or have any other concerns after your donation, please do not hesitate to call the Blood Center and ask to speak with a member of the nursing or medical staff.