There are possible minor after-effects if directions are not followed, such as drinking fluids, not performing any strenuous activity after the donation etc.

You may wish to share this information with your doctor. While the positive antibody has no immediate impact on your health, if you ever need a blood transfusion, the fact that you have a positive antibody will be used to determine the blood most suited for any future need of blood transfusion.

If a donor’s blood tests positive for the antibody screen, the red blood cells may still be used for patients. Since antibodies are mostly present in the plasma (the liquid portion of blood), donors with positive antibody screens are asked to donate whole blood or double red cell donations. If your donation tests positive for the antibody screen, the blood center will perform additional testing on the red blood cell component you donated. If this additional testing shows no evidence of the unexpected antibodies in the red blood cell component, it can be used for transfusion.

Donors with positive antibody screens should not donate apheresis platelets due to the high levels of plasma present in these components.

The blood center tests all blood donors for the presence of unexpected red blood cell antibodies because the donated blood may cause transfusion reactions.

A positive antibody screen test is no cause for alarm; it is very common. It simply means that testing has shown you may have unexpected red blood cell antibodies.

The body makes antibodies in response to foreign antigens (those you were not born with). If you receive a blood transfusion or if you are pregnant, you may be exposed to red blood cell antigens that differ from the ones you were born with. Since your body views these antigens as foreign, your body makes antibodies to defend itself against the foreign red blood cell antigens. These types of antibodies are called “unexpected red blood cell antibodies.”

Antigens are substances recognized by the body as foreign. A foreign antigen causes the body to produce an antibody to react with the antigen.

Blood antigens are found in everyone’s body. Specific antigens are attached to the red blood cells. The specific red blood cell antigens a person has are set at birth. These antigens determine your blood type. For example, people who have a blood type of A+ have the “A” antigen and the “Rh” antigen attached to their red blood cells. Your body will not recognize the antigens associated with your blood type as foreign. It basically ignores these antigens.

Donating blood is usually a simple and pleasant procedure. Your total time at the blood center or the bloodmobile will take about an hour.

  • Step 1 – Registration: Your information will be accessed in our computer system by your name or social security number and you will be asked to verify your name, address and phone number. If you are a first time donor, you will be asked your name, address and additional information and you will be entered into the system as a donor. You will need to show current photo I.D. to the registrar each time you donate.
  • Step 2 – Interview and Mini-Physical: You will answer questions about your medical history and questions determining if you practice high risk activities for contracting HIV, hepatitis and other diseases that are harmful to the blood supply. A mini-physical will be performed to determine your blood pressure, temperature, pulse and iron level to ensure you are healthy enough to give blood.
  • Step 3 – Donation Preparation: As you rest in the donor chair, the phlebotomist will check your veins, swab your arm with iodine and prepare the bag and other materials needed to collect your blood donation.
  • Step 4 – Blood Donation and Recovery: The actual donation time takes between four and eight minutes and, for most people, is a very comfortable process. The phlebotomist will also take four vials of blood for testing before the needle is removed from your arm.
  • Step 5 – Relax: You will be offered juice and snacks and encouraged to relax for several minutes after your donation is complete. If you’ve donated, please take a moment to fill out our LifeSouth Donor Survey.

The pint of blood you donate is separated into three components; red blood cells, plasma and platelets. If needed, two additional components may be made from a pint of blood; cryoprecipitate and white blood cells. The blood components are then stored until they are needed. Patients only receive the blood components that their body lacks. Some patients, such as cancer patients, may only need platelets. Burn patients may need plasma. Patients that have lost a great deal of blood due to trauma injuries, transplants or major surgery may require transfusions of all blood components.

Donors who test positive for infectious diseases will be notified based on state/federal regulations.

Checking your hemoglobin level before making a donation gives an indication of how much hemoglobin you have in your red blood cells, and therefore how safe it is for you to donate. Low iron is not the same as being anemic; anemia must be diagnosed by a doctor. LifeSouth requires a hemoglobin level of 12.5 d/dL females and 13.0 g/dL males due to the American Association of Blood Banks suggested regulations. Some anemia is not due to inadequate iron consumption. If you are chronically anemic, please consult a physician. In order to help maintain adequate blood iron levels, we recommend that you include the following foods in your normal diet:

  • Spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes Beans (lima beans, soybean sprouts, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc.)
  • Bran cereal, whole wheat bread, white rice Cocoa, brown sugar Raisins, dried apricots, peaches Nuts (especially black walnuts, almonds and cashews)
  • Oysters, clams, scallops and shrimp
  • Wheat germ and wheat, rice or corn flakes, brewer’s yeast Prune juice, apple juice
  • Red meats, liver, chicken
  • Vitamin C enhances iron absorption
  • The tannic acid in tea can act as an iron blocker carbonated soda can act as iron blockers.
  • Other iron blockers include oxylates and phosphates.

At LifeSouth, we strongly recommend a meal or snack within two hours prior to donating blood

There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain during the donation.

Your body replaces blood volume or plasma within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to eight weeks for complete replacement.

There is not a deferral period in Alabama where tattoo parlors are regulated. As of January 1, 2013, there is no waiting period for Florida donors for tattoos done after 1/1/13. There is a twelve month deferral period from the date of the tattoo application for Georgia donors.

If the piercing was done under aseptic (sterile) conditions with single-use equipment, there is no deferral period. If a sterile needle was NOT used, the deferral period is twelve months due to the risk of infection.

Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 year olds may donate with written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. There is no upper age limit to donate blood.

You must wait at least 56 days between donations of whole blood and 16 weeks (112 days) between double red cell donations. Platelet apheresis donors may give every 2 weeks for a max of 24 times per year.

We are not allowed to take your blood donation without first seeing an official form of identification. It must show proof of age, your signature and/or your photo. An example of such identification would be a valid passport or driver’s license.

Yes, you can. There is no waiting period for the influenza vaccine, including vaccines for seasonal influenza and H1N1.

First you must show a valid photo I.D. Then a donor technician completes computer registration for your donation. Then you answer questions relating to your medical history. A brief “mini-physical” tests your blood pressure, the iron content of your blood, your body temperature and pulse. The actual whole blood donation only lasts between four and eight minutes. Donors are asked to rest afterwards for about ten minutes before leaving. The entire donation process takes approximately 45 minutes.

Donors are served refreshments and encouraged to stay in the donor chair for a short time after donating. Occasional light-headedness may occur, especially if a donor leaves the chair before having a short rest, or uses alcohol or tobacco products soon after the donation.

You cannot donate if you’re currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the past 6 weeks.

If you have any cold symptoms, it is best that you fully recover before donating, as donating blood can make the effects of common colds worse.

Generally, no. Blood donations take a standard amount of blood from each donor; around 500ml (slightly less than one pint) for the donation to make a difference for a patient.

No. Sterile procedures, materials and disposable equipment are used in all LifeSouth blood centers. You cannot contract HIV or other viral diseases by donating blood.