From donation to transfusion, many hands take part in the lives saved by blood donors and thereby touch the very heart of our community. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers offers several types of blood related services, including whole blood donations, apheresis donations, and therapeutic procedures.
To give blood you must be in good health, 17 years or older or 16 with parental permission, weigh at least 110 pounds and show a valid photo I.D. Anyone who practices activities that are “high risk” for contracting the HIV or hepatitis viruses should not donate. Click here for blood donor education materials.
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Donating Blood Facts
- 1 blood donation (1 pint) can save up to 3 lives.
- 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year.
- More than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
- Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
- The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
- One unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.
- Platelets promote blood clotting and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
- Blood or plasma that comes from people who have been paid for it cannot be used for human transfusions.
- The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
- Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O.
- The #1 reason blood donors say they give is because they “want to help others.”
- More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each 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.
- Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood – less than 10 percent do annually.
- Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from donors.
- Type O-negative blood can be transfused to patients of all blood types.
- Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is usually in short supply.
- 1 in 7 of people entering the hospital will need blood.
Myths About Blood Donation
Medications: Few medications affect your eligibility as a blood donor. LifeSouth staff will ask you about these medications specifically prior to your donation.
Diabetes: If you are diabetic, LifeSouth staff will ask about your treatment plan. In most instances, if your treatment has been stable, you will be able to donate.
Low iron: Hemoglobin/ iron levels vary according to age, race, gender, genetic factors, diet and even lifestyle. LifeSouth staff will check your hemoglobin levels prior to each donation. If you are not under a doctor’s care for anemia, please come in and give blood donation a try.
Cancer: Leukemia, lymphoma and blood-cell related cancers are a deferral, but donation is possible with other types of cancer if the person is in full remission with no other treatment scheduled.
Old age: While 17 is the minimum, or 16 with parental consent, there is no upper limit as long as a person is in good health and weighs at least 110 lbs. LifeSouth previously had a 100-year-old donor.
High Blood Pressure: Unless levels are extremely high, donation is possible. The medications taken for high blood pressure are also permissible. Blood pressure is checked before every donation to make sure it is within an acceptable range.
Travel: Having traveled or lived outside of the U.S. doesn’t carry an automatic deferral. The FDA determines which areas may pose a risk, and the areas can change.
Mononucleosis (mono): If you’ve been diagnosed with “mono” (aka the “kissing disease”), as long as you have fully recovered, you are eligible to donate. Discuss this during your donor interview to determine your eligibility.
Ear/body piercing: If the piercing was done in an aseptic/sterile environment, you can donate. Otherwise, we must ask you to wait for 12 months after receiving the piercing.
Tattoos: If the tattoo was obtained in a licensed tattoo parlor in Alabama or Florida, or if it is over 12-months old, we can accept you as a blood donor.