Common Questions About Donating Blood

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Q: What can I expect at my donation?
A: In a confidential and private setting, you’ll answer some questions about your health history and places you have traveled.

We’ll take your blood pressure, temperature and a small sample of your blood to test your iron level. We’ll cleanse the area of your arm and insert a sterile needle, through which the blood will be drawn. After donation, you can relax in the refreshment area, enjoy a snack and beverage and take pleasure in knowing your blood donation may help save up to three lives.
 
Q: Can I find out my blood type?
A: Yes. About six weeks after your donation, you will receive a donor card in the mail indicating your blood type.
 
Q: How often may I donate blood?
A: You may donate whole blood every 56 days, up to six times per year.
 
Q: Will I have to limit my activities after donating?
A: We ask donors not to do any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for several hours after donating. You may want to schedule your appointment several hours before or after planned exercise.
 
Q: Will I become anemic after donating?
A: Most people do not become anemic after donating. The body begins replenishing lost fluid and red cells within 24 hours.
 
Q: I’ve been turned down before. Should I try again?
A: Yes. Most deferrals are temporary–not permanent.
 
Q: What if I have high or low blood pressure?
A: Your blood pressure will be checked before every donation. If your blood pressure is within an acceptable range, you may donate. If you take medication to control your blood pressure, you may still be eligible to donate. Please check with a Red Cross staff member to find out if you are able to donate.
 
Q: Can I donate if I have been taking an antibiotic?
A: You may be able to donate blood as long as you have taken your last dose of the prescribed course of antibiotics and have no symptoms.
 
Q: If something is wrong with my blood, will I find out?

A: Yes. You will be notified confidentially by certified mail or in rare situations
by telephone.
 
Q: Can I get AIDS from giving blood?
A:
No. All equipment is sterile and used only for you. You can’t “catch” anything by giving blood.
 
Q: Can I give blood if I have traveled outside the U.S.?
A
: There are specified limitations for certain travel. Some circumstances may make a person temporarily ineligible to donate blood; some cause indefinite ineligibility.
 
Q: What should I do if I have more questions regarding my eligibility to donate blood?
A:
Our donor health representatives can answer any questions you may have about travel, medications or health conditions that might affect your ability to donate blood. Please call 1-866-236-3276 for more information.
 
To be eligible to donate blood you must:
• be at least 17 years old (16 with parental permission in Indiana)
• meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height)
• be in generally good health
 
Before donating you should:
• get a good night’s sleep
• drink plenty of fluids
• eat within 2-3 hours
 
Be sure to bring your:
• donor card or a government issued photo I.D.
• parental consent form if you are a 16-year-old donor