The American Red Cross stresses that donating blood is very safe. Blood is always drawn using a new, sterile needle, which is used only once and then discarded. While the donation itself typically lasts up to 10 minutes, the entire process, from registration to refreshment, takes about one hour.
Below is an overview of what to expect during donation of whole blood:
- Registration: After individuals first arrive for their blood donation appointments, they provide basic information about themselves and also show identification.
- Health History and Mini Physical: Potential blood donors confidentially answer questions about their health and travel history. Certain vitals are taken to ensure the individuals are eligible to donate.
- Donation: The individual’s arm is cleansed in the area the needle will be placed. A new, sterile needle is inserted to draw the blood, and the donor will feel a quick pinch. After about a pint of blood is collected, the donation process is finished. The “whole blood” is later separated into red cells, plasma, platelets and/or Cryoprecipitated Antihaemophilic Factor (a frozen blood product prepared from plasma).
- Refreshments: Donors enjoy complimentary refreshments and relax after their donation. Within about 10 or 15 minutes, they’re able to leave and continue with regular activities.
Within about 24 hours, plasma from the donation is replaced; red blood cells are replenished within approximately four to six weeks. A healthy donor may donate whole blood every 56 days
GBMC holds community Red Cross Blood Drives throughout the year. The next is being held on Thursday, February 27, 2014 from 5:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. To learn more about blood donation, visit www.redcrossblood.org. To register for the next blood drive at GBMC, visit www.gbmc.org/redcross or contact Kim Davenport at 443-849-2400 with any questions.