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Facts about Donating Blood

Am I Needed, As A Blood Donor?

A blood donor is a special kind of volunteer. One donation of blood can help save up to five patients' lives.

Long Island Blood Services provides blood services to hospitals throughout Long Island. We are fortunate to live in a region where sophisticated medical facilities and transplant programs are available. These programs require many blood donations.

When there is not enough blood, patients wait for hours for the blood they need, delaying their recovery. Patients who are weak from low iron wait for red cells; patients whose bodies have been assaulted by chemotherapy wait for platelets that will allow their blood to clot again.

Patients who have been on an organ transplant list for months or years and finally get an opportunity for an organ will lose that opportunity if there is no blood.


Can I give blood?

To be a blood donor you must:

  • Bring valid ID (SCHOOL ID IS FINE) and know social security number
  • Minimum weight 110 lbs.
  • Age 17 - 76
  • Eat well (low fat) & drink fluids
  • No tattoos for past 12 months

Before you donate:

Drink plenty of fluids before you donate.
Don't forget to eat a good meal before you donate. Don't skip breakfast!
Eat these iron-rich foods in the week before you donate:

  • Fruit -- dates, dried apricots, dried peaches, dried prunes or prune juice, raisins
  • Vegetables -- beet greens, chard, dried beans or peas, spinach
  • Meat -- chicken, ham, liver, liver sausage, lean beef, lean pork, turkey, veal
  • Seafood -- clams, oysters, sardines, scallops, shrimp, tuna

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Frequency -- you can donate every 56 days.
  • Cold, flu, and sore throat -- you should wait until you're feeling normal.
  • Allergies -- you can donate if allergies are under control with no symptoms.
  • Antibiotics -- you must wait 48 hours after taking your last oral dose of antibiotics.
  • Tattoos -- wait one year.
  • Menstrual cycle -- you can donate during your menstrual cycle.

Here's how the donation process works:

  1. Answer a few questions about your health.
  2. Receive a mini-physical -- blood pressure, temperature, pulse and iron level.
  3. Proceed to the donating area where your arm is cleaned with an antiseptic and your blood is collected using only new, sterile, disposable supplies.
  4. Relax, take a few deep breaths and before you know it, you will have given a gift that will help up to five people.

After you donate:

  • Sit and enjoy refreshments for a few minutes. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Leave your bandage on for four to six hours.
  • Don't skip meals.
  • Your normal volume of blood will be restored within 24 hours of donating.
    Become a regular blood donor. You'll discover how good it is to give. You can donate every 8 weeks. That’s 6x’s per year.

What happens to my blood after I give it?

Each donation of whole blood is divided into its components:

Red cells, essential to carry vital oxygen to the body's tissues. Can be stored for 42 days.

Platelets, a clotting component needed by patients fighting leukemia and other cancers. Must be used within 5 days.

Plasma is the nutrient-rich fluid that travels with blood cells through the body. Fresh frozen plasma is given to patients experiencing clotting problems.

Cryoprecipitate is a plasma concentrate rich in the specific clotting proteins that hemophiliac’s lack.

If you have any questions about your eligibility to give blood, please call
1-800-688-0900.