Important Donor Information
Making Your Blood Donation Safe
Accuracy and Honesty are Essential
Your complete honesty and accuracy in answering all questions are very important for the safety of patients who receive your blood. It is crucial that we obtain full, honest, and complete information about your health and behaviors. Thank you for your careful answers to the questions you will be asked. All information you provide is confidential.
Please do not discuss your health history with anyone in the waiting area. You have the right to discuss the procedure with a physician.
Your Role in Improving Your Donation Experience
- Keep arm still during your donation to prevent irritation of your vein or nerves.
- Inform our staff immediately if you feel any arm discomfort, nausea, or faintness.
- Practice muscle tensing while on donor bed to improve blood flow. This involves crossing legs at ankles and then applying tension to squeeze leg muscles. (Our staff can provide further instructions).
- Remain on the donor bed for 5 minutes after the needle has been removed. Then, if you feel well, sit on side of bed briefly before standing. Do not stand if you do not feel well.
- Remain in Refresh area for at least 10 additional minutes, and have a drink and snack. TBC recommends you drink water and eat a salty snack unless you are on a sodium-restricted diet.
- While sitting in the Refresh area, cross ankles, and squeeze leg muscles. This will continue to improve your blood flow after donating.
- After leaving the Refresh area, continue to drink water and eat, if your diet allows, salty snacks/food.
- You will be given a sheet containing post-donation care instructions. Please keep this as a reference should you need guidance after you leave our donation site.
- Use muscle tensing any time you feel anxious, dizzy, or faint. If symptoms continue or worsen, lower yourself to the floor, prop feet at a level higher than heart, and summon help.
- If you will be driving after your donation, ensure you feel well before starting your vehicle. Do not drive after donation if you are experiencing any faintness, weakness, dizziness, nausea, or similar symptoms.
- Please let us know if you have suggestions to improve our process. These are always welcome.
Donors must be in good health, at least 16 years old (16 year olds need written parental consent in SC & GA, 16 and 17 year olds need parental consent in NC), and weigh at least 110 pounds.
To determine eligibility to donate we will:
- Ask questions about your health, travel, and medicines.
- Ask questions to determine if you might be at risk for transfusion transmissible diseases.
- Take donor blood pressure and temperature.
- Take a small blood sample to ensure you are not anemic.
If you are able to donate we will:
- Cleanse your arm with an antiseptic (please tell us if you are allergic to chlorhexidine or iodine).
- Use a new, sterile, disposable needle to collect your blood.
Whole Blood Donation
When donating whole blood, a needle will be placed in your arm to remove approximately one pint of your blood. The blood will flow through the tubing attached to the needle into a collection system. The process will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Your body will replace the liquid part of your blood (called plasma) in just a few hours, and the blood cells will be replaced within a few weeks. Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days.
Apheresis (Automated) Donation
also known as platelet donation, plasma donation, or double red cell donation
The apheresis process allows us to remove only a portion of your blood (platelets, plasma, red cells, or white blood cells). A needle will be placed in your arm. Blood will flow through the tubing attached to the needle into a system that will collect the desired component. The remainder of your blood will be returned to you through the same arm. The process will take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the component(s) you are donating.
Your body will replace the liquid part of your blood (called plasma) in just a few hours. The platelets and white blood cells will be replaced within 48 to 72 hours. If you donate red cells by automation alone, or with platelets and plasma, the red cells will be replaced within a few weeks. Certain height, weight, and hemoglobin requirements must be met to donate automated procedures.
The acceptable frequency for automated donations depends on the component(s) being collected at each donation. In general, the following intervals apply:
Platelet donation – once in a 7-day period and no more than 24 times in a rolling calendar year
Plasma donation – every 28 days
Red cells in conjunction with another component – every 8 weeks
Double red cell donation – every 16 weeks
All donors are subject to maximum red cell and plasma loss limits for a rolling calendar year. These limits are determined by the Food and Drug Administration and The Blood Connection medical staff. In the rare event of a mechanical failure or damage to your red cells during your donation, we may not be able to return part of your blood. Should this occur, you might not be allowed to donate again for 8 weeks (16 weeks, if giving a double unit of red cells).
Travel to (or Birth in) Other Countries
Members of US military, a civilian military employee or a dependent of a member of the US military between 1980 and 1996 can now donate blood! This was previously a deferral.
From 1980 to 1996, did you spend time that adds up to 3 months or more in the United Kingdom countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands? If yes, you may have been told you can’t donate blood – but you can now! Here’s the latest on these guidelines: CLICK HERE.
You cannot donate blood if you spent time that adds up to (5) five years or more in France and Ireland. The list below shows countries that are NOT on the deferral list, meaning if you lived there, you can donate blood.
European Countries/Cities no longer a deferral if time spent from 1980 to present added up to (5) years:
|Bosnia||French Guiana||Liechtenstein||The Netherlands||Slovenia|
|Ceuta||Guadeloupe||Martinique||Portugal, including the Azores||Switzerland|
You are deferred from donating blood if in the past 4 months you:
o Had a blood transfusion
o Had a transplant such as organ, tissue or bone marrow
o Come in contact with someone else’s blood
o Accidental needle-stick
o Sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money, drugs, or other payment for sex
o Sexual contact with anyone who uses drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by their doctor
o Male Donors: had sexual contact with another male
o Female Donors: had sexual contact with a male who has had sexual contact with another male
o Corneal transplant
o Used needles to take drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by your doctor
o Received money to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
Why we ask questions about sexual contact:
Sexual contact may cause transmissible diseases to get into the bloodstream and be spread through transfusions to someone else.
Definition of sexual contact:
The terms sexual contact or sex are used in some of the questions you will be asked. These can mean different things to each of us, but in keeping with federal guidelines, these terms apply to any of the activities below, whether or not a condom or other protection was used during sexual contact.
- Vaginal sex (contact between penis and vagina).
- Oral sex (mouth or tongue on someone’s vagina, penis, or anus).
- Anal sex (contact between penis and anus).
HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors and Symptoms
AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV is spread mainly through sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs.
Do Not Donate If You:
- Have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test.
- Have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by a doctor.
- Have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977.
- Have had sexual contact in the past 4 months with anyone described above.
- Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
- Have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail, or prison for more than 72 hours in the last 12 months.
- Have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS:
- Unexplained weight loss or night sweats.
- Blue or purple spots in the mouth or on your skin.
- Swollen lymph nodes for more than one month.
- White spots or unusual spots in your mouth.
- Cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath.
- Diarrhea that won’t go away.
- Fever of more than 100.5 degrees F for more than 10 days.
Remember that you can transmit HIV to someone else through blood transfusions even when feeling well and have a negative HIV test because tests cannot detect infections for a period of time after a person is exposed to HIV. Do not give blood only as a means for an AIDS or hepatitis test. Confidential AIDS testing is available at the local health department or call 1.800.322.AIDS for more information.
What Happens After Donation
To protect patients, blood is tested for transfusion transmissible diseases. If a donor’s blood tests positive, it will not be transfused to a patient. Donors will be notified about test results that may disqualify them from donating in the future.
Do not donate to be tested for HIV, hepatitis, or any other infections.
Confidentiality of Screening and Test Results
Blood centers are required to keep a confidential list of names whose blood might be harmful to patients. If medical history or blood test results are unclear or if they show that a donor’s blood might make someone sick, his name will be placed on this list. This list is strictly confidential.
If you believe your blood should not be given to another person or have questions about the safety of your blood, call the Donor Self-Exclusion Hotline 1.800.392.6551.
TBC uses a single-use sterile collection kit for each donor.
It is important that you do not donate blood to be tested for AIDS.
Confidential AIDS testing is available. Here is some helpful contact information:
Upstate Prevention: 1.888.232.2310
SC AIDS/STD Hotline: 1.800.322.AIDS
Western NC AIDS Project: 1.800.346.3731
NC AIDS Action Network: Contact here
GA HIV/AIDS Information Hotline: 404.876.9944