Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor's temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes.
The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation.
A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.
A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.
All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law.
Facts about blood needs
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
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