How to Donate Blood, Platelets or Plasma

Feel Prepared. Give Blood. Although all blood types are needed, those with O Negative type blood are especially encouraged to donate.

Can I Donate Blood?

Most people can donate blood, assuming they’re feeling well. People with many health conditions – like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – can still donate blood if their condition is well managed.

Learn More

Get Ready for Your Donation

The key to a successful donation is preparation. Below are a few steps you can take to make your donation as easy as possible.

  • In the days leading up to your donation, eat iron-rich foods like beef, nuts, whole grains and leafy greens.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • On the day of your donation, make sure to eat a meal before you give.
  • Wear short sleeves or a shirt where your inner elbow is accessible.

Schedule A Donation

Types of Blood Donations

  • Blood

    Whole blood donations are the most common form of donation. In it, you will donate a pint of blood in a process that takes about an hour, in total. This donation can save up to three lives and can be repeated every 56 days.

  • Platelets

    What do you need to know about platelet donation? Platelets are tiny disk-shaped fragments of blood cells that are essential for normal blood clotting. Platelets are critically needed every day for some of the sickest patients, like those in cancer treatment or babies born without clotting factors.

  • Plasma

    Plasma is the liquid component of blood, which carries red blood cells and nutrients to the parts of the body that need it. Plasma is used to treat burn victims and those with trauma or clotting disorders.

  • Blood Types

    Each person has a specific blood type, based on the combination of factors included in their blood. This blood type allows medical facilities to give the right blood to the right patient, as well as helping blood centers find the best donation for your type.

  • Power Red Donation

    A Power Red donation is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you.

What to Expect At Your Blood Donation

  • Medical Screening

    Before you can donate, we’ll ask some questions to make sure you can do so safely. These questions – which can be answered in advance on the same day of your donation through Donor EXPRESS – will examine your health history, behaviors and recent travel, which could affect the safety of your blood. We’ll also check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level before clearing you to donate.

  • Donation

    Once we know that it’s safe for you to give, it’s time for the donation itself. We will need access to your inner elbow area, which we’ll clean and then use a small needle to begin the donation. The actual blood donation takes about 15-20 minutes.

  • Canteen

    After you donate, we’ll ask you to spend 10-15 minutes in the canteen area, enjoying free snacks and drinks. This time will ensure you’re feeling well after your donation. In total, the full experience will take about an hour, from start to finish.