Who can donate blood
Giving blood is a remarkable gift to those in need
Giving blood is often giving life: your contribution of blood through the American Red Cross can truly be the difference between life and death for someone with an urgent medical need. To give blood, you must be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be 17 years old. Before donating, you must pass a health history review and a physical history review, according to Give Life.
Older people, if in good health, can donate blood. There is no upper age limit. Of course, eligibility requirements can vary from state to state so what may applicable in one state may not be in another.
You cannot give blood, at least on a temporary basis, if you are pregnant, take certain medication, have particular health conditions, have recently been inoculated or if you have traveled to certain parts of the world.
Your eligibility will ultimately be determined by medical professionals at the blood donation site.
An individual may donate blood every 56 days in the United States. However, the waiting period can be longer or shorter depending on what component of the blood you are donating. If you are donating platelets, a process called apheresis requires only a three-day waiting period before a person can give again. If you have donated two units of red blood cells, the waiting period is 112 days.
Blood components consist of platelets, plasma and red blood cells. After the blood it is collected, it is separated into these particular components. The components are temperature-controlled and placed in quarantine for 12 to 16 hours until test results on the blood are received. If the blood is good, it will be released for distribution.
If it is determined that you are anemic (iron poor blood) you will not be allowed to donate blood. Iron levels can be affected by what you have eaten and fluctuate regularly so this does not mean that you will not be eligible the next time to want to donate.
If you are not eligible to donate blood, you can always assist in other ways by helping recruit donors, volunteering at the donor site, organizing blood drives or making a monetary donation.
Those who are eligible to donate blood will give about one pint of blood. On average, an adult body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood. Some people feel a bit dizzy after giving blood, which can be alleviated by drinking lots of fluids and resting; the majority of donors have no symptoms whatsoever. Your body will regenerate the lost fluid within 24 hours.
If a family member or friend is about to undergo non-emergency surgery, you can donate blood specifically for this person prior to the surgery. This is called autologous donation. If this blood is not needed, it will be discarded.
Friends and family members can also make directed donations, which are fully tested. If they are not used by the intended recipient they can be used by other patients who need blood.
Giving blood will take about 60 minutes. You will register at the blood bank, give your health history, under go a physical and, if approved, will then proceed to the actual donation part, which will take about 10 minutes. Afterward, you will be given something to eat before leaving.