Blood Donation FAQs

What are the minimum requirements to become a blood donor?

Check with your local blood bank to determine the exact requirements, but generally, you must be at least 18 years of age, a minimum of 50 Kg’s, and in basic good health. Donor should have hemoglobin content as minimum 12.5 gm%. People above 60 years of age are not advised to donate blood.

Will donating blood hurt?

You may feel a slight sting in the beginning lasting only a couple of seconds, but there should be no discomfort during the donation.

Are blood donors paid?

No. Blood collected is given by volunteer blood donors. It is free of cost.

How badly is blood needed?

Blood supplies can vary depending on the region and time of year. As donor qualifications continue to become stricter and as the donor population ages, our country is at risk of a low blood supply. If you are eligible, your blood donations are needed. Please donate.

Why are there often blood shortages?

Most blood banks strive to maintain an optimum inventory level of a three-day supply. Due to unpredictable demands from trauma incidents the inventory fluctuates hourly. When the blood supply drops below a three-day level, blood banks begin alerting local donors to increase the inventory to a safe operating level.

Can I get AIDS from donating blood?

No. There is no risk of contracting AIDS or any other disease through the donation process. Each collection kit is sterile, pre-packaged and used only once.

How much blood is taken?

For a whole blood donation, approximately 450 ml is collected.

How much time does it take for my body to replace the blood that I donated?

Not long at all. Within a period of 24-48 hours, the same amount of new blood gets formed in the body.

How often may I donate?

You may donate whole blood once every 90 days.

How long until my blood is used?

Most blood donations are processed and available for use within 48 hours.

Does donated blood stay on the shelf indefinitely until it is used?

No. Each unit of whole blood normally is separated into several components. Red blood cells may be stored under refrigeration for a maximum of 42 days, or they may be frozen for up to 10 years. Red cells carry oxygen and are used to treat anemia or blood loss. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are generally used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer. Platelets are stored at room temperature and may be kept for a maximum of five days. Fresh frozen plasma, used to control bleeding due to low levels of some clotting factors, is kept in a frozen state for up to one year. Cryoprecipitate AHF, which contains only a few specific clotting factors, is made from fresh frozen plasma and may be stored frozen for up to one year. Granulocytes are sometimes used to fight infections, although their efficacy is not well established. They must be transfused within 24 hours of donation.

Other products manufactured from blood include albumin, immune globulin, specific immune globulins, and clotting factor concentrates. Commercial manufacturers commonly produce these blood products.

Are the health history questions necessary every time I donate?

To ensure the safest possible blood supply, all donors must be asked all the screening questions at each donation.

What is the most common blood groups ?

O Rh-positive 
O Rh-negative 
A Rh-positive 
A Rh-negative 
B Rh-positive 
B Rh-negative 
AB Rh-positive 
AB Rh-negative

In an emergency, anyone can receive type O red blood cells, and type AB individuals can receive red blood cells of any ABO type. Therefore, people with type O blood are known as “universal donors,” and those with type AB blood are known as “universal recipients.” In addition, individuals of all types can receive type AB plasma.

Is there such thing as artificial blood?

Scientists have yet to find a successful substitute for human blood. This is why blood donors are so vital to the lives of those who are in need of blood.

What fees are associated with blood?

While donated blood is free, there are significant costs associated with collecting, testing, preparing components, labeling, storing and shipping blood; recruiting and educating donors; and quality assurance. As a result, processing fees are charged to recover costs. Processing fees for individual blood components vary considerably. Processing fees for one specific component also may vary in different geographic regions. Hospitals charges for any additional testing that may be required, such as the cross match, as well as for the administration of the blood.

Is there anything I should do before I donate?

Be sure to eat well at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluids.

What does the term “donor deferral” mean?

Individuals disqualified from donating blood are known as “deferred” donors. A prospective donor may be deferred at any point during the collection and testing process. Whether or not a person is deferred temporarily or permanently will depend on the specific reason for disqualification (e.g., a person may be deferred temporarily because of anemia, a condition that is usually reversible).

If I was deferred once before, am I still ineligible to donate?

If your deferral is of a permanent nature, you will be informed. Otherwise, the deferral time depends upon the reason for deferral.

If I just received a flu shot, can I donate blood?

Yes. There is no waiting period to donate after receiving a flu shot.

If I have a cold or the flu, can I donate blood?

In order to donate, blood banks require that you be in generally good health (symptom-free) and recommend that you are feeling well.

Can I still donate if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, if your blood pressure in under control and within the limits set in the donation guidelines.

What if I’m taking aspirin or medication prescribed by my doctor?

Aspirin and ibuprofen will not affect a whole blood donation. It is recommended that you call the blood bank ahead of time to inquire about any medications you are taking.

What if I have anemia?

You cannot give blood if you have anemia. However, this can often be a temporary condition. Your hemoglobin will be tested before you donate to make sure it is at an acceptable level.

How long will the actual donation process take?

The actual donation takes about 5-10 minutes. The entire donation process, from registration to post-donation refreshments, takes about one hour.

What types of tests are performed on donated blood?

After blood is drawn, it is tested for ABO group (blood type) and RH type (positive or negative), as well as for any unexpected red blood cell antibodies that may cause problems for the recipient. Screening tests performed are listed below:

· Hepatitis B      surface antigen (HBsAg)

· Hepatitis B      core antibody (anti-HBc)

· Hepatitis C      virus antibody (anti-HCV)

· HIV-1 and      HIV-2 antibody (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2)

· HTLV-I and      HTLV-II antibody (anti-HTLV-I and anti-HTLV-II)

· Syphilis (venereal disease)

Any other test deemed fit by the blood bank

How will I feel after I donate?

Most people feel great after giving blood. If you feel any abnormal symptoms, let a staff member at the blood donation center or blood drive know. You should avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous exercise for the next 24 hours; otherwise you can resume full activity as long as you feel well.

Where can I donate blood?

Please locate a blood bank nearest you, and then contact the blood bank to make an appointment and find out what they require.

What can you do if you aren’t eligible to donate?

While a given individual may be unable to donate, he or she may be able to recruit a suitable donor. Blood banks are always in need of volunteers to assist at blood draws or to organize mobile blood drives. In addition, monetary donations are always welcome to help ensure that blood banks can continue to provide safe blood to those in need.

How can I host a blood drive at my work, school etc.?

Find the blood bank nearest you, and then contact the blood bank to find out what they require.

June 14 every year is celebrated as Blood Donation Day. Donate blood on that day and also on a regular basis.

Share this info with all. Encourage people to donate blood. It’s good.


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