How to Become a Blood Donor

How to Become a Blood Donor Photo

The Facts About Donating Blood

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. Yet, only about 3% of age-eligible people donate their blood annually. Whether used in surgeries, chronic illness, or traumatic injury, donating your blood is a lifesaving act. In fact, approximately one donation can save up to three lives!

You can make various types of donations, including whole blood donations, power red donations, platelet donations, and plasma donations. Whole blood donations are the most flexible of all options because they include red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

However, to become a blood donor, you must first meet some requirements. Here are the general guidelines for donating blood to help you determine if you are eligible:

Age Requirement

To donate blood, you must be at least 17 years of age. Some states will allow you to donate at the age of 16; however, they also require parental consent. Age requirements are in place for the health and safety of donors. Donating a pint of blood can often cause faintness, loss of consciousness, and bruising. If a young person experiences a negative side effect of donating blood, they will be less likely to donate again in the future. Research also shows that adolescents under the age of 16 are indifferent to donating blood.

Weight Requirement

You must weigh at least 110 pounds in order to donate blood. This is because your blood volume is in proportion to your body weight. Therefore, if you weigh less than 110 pounds, you may not tolerate the loss of blood as well as someone who weighs more than the required amount. The weight requirement also goes hand-in-hand with the donor’s height. The American Red Cross provides a chart with more specific details.

Good Health

Blood donors must remain in good health. If the donor has a chronic condition like diabetes, it is critical for the condition to be well-managed before donating. If you have an infection that requires antibiotics, you may be required to wait a specific amount of time until the antibiotics are completed before donating blood. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are not eligible for blood donation. For those unsure of your eligibility because of your health, speak to a medical professional before scheduling an appointment.

If you have additional questions about eligibility criteria, you can visit the American Red Cross website.

Donation Frequency

For those who donate blood frequently, there is a specific waiting period in between each donation. For example, you can donate whole blood every 56 days, but platelet donations can occur every 7 days up to 24 times a year. Make sure to keep track of how often you are donating to remain eligible.

Diagnostic Testing in San Antonio

At Full Spectrum Emergency Room and Urgent Care our on-site lab can get a large number of test results back in 30 minutes or less. Whether you need a full blood workup, including a complete blood count, or thyroid hormone testing, our team can help.

No matter how big or small, our experienced and knowledgeable staff is equipped to handle any situation - and you’ll never have to worry about waiting.

Send us a message online or call (210) 429-8313 to learn more about our San Antonio Facilities.

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