Individual donating blood during COVID-19

Urgent Need for Giving Blood During COVID-19

Dec 14 2020

Did you know a one blood donation has the potential to save three lives? While COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, it has not changed the dire need for blood donations.

Even under typical circumstances, there is usually a struggle for donations to keep up with the demand for blood. Now with this pandemic, donations have been dangerously low.

Please consider making a blood donation to one of our partner facilities during this time:

Can I donate?

You must be at least 16 years old (in most states) and in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and not feel sick to give blood.

Get educated about blood donation eligibility.

What are the blood needs like in the U.S.?

  • Around 10,000 units of plasma and 7,000 units of platelets are needed in the country each day.
  • About 21 million blood components (including plasma, platelets and red blood cells) are transfused in the United States every year.
  • On average, a red blood cell transfusion is around three pints.
  • One car accident victim can require as much as 100 pints of blood.
  • The most frequently requested blood type from hospitals is type O. This is because it can be transfused to all blood types.
  • Many cancer patients need blood, even sometimes daily, while receiving chemotherapy.

What are some facts about our current blood supply?

  • It is estimated that around 6.8 million people donate blood annually.
  • Only around 3% of age-eligible people donate blood each year.
  • Type AB positive plasma and type O negative red cells can be given to patients of all blood types. However, these are often both in short supply.
  • Platelets must be used within five days.
  • Red blood cells must be used within 42 days.

What do I need to know about the blood donation process?

The blood donation process includes registration, medical history with a mini-physical, the actual donation and then refreshments. The donation part takes 10 to 12 minutes and the whole process takes about an hour.

Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments. The actual donation will take about 10 to 12 minutes with the entire process taking a little over an hour. A person usually has 10 pints of blood and the donation will take about one pint of it.

A typical donor can give red blood cells every 56 days and platelets in as few as every seven days. However, for platelets you can only give 24 times a year at most.

For more information or to discuss any concerns about blood donation, speak with your primary care physician.  

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