Blood Facts & News

Blood donors make a life saving difference. More than 4 million Americans would die each year without blood transfusions. Because blood is perishable and can only be stored for a short time, donors are needed every day.

  • There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O
  • AB is the “universal recipient” and O- is the “universal donor”
  • Blood has four main components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma
  • Every two seconds someone needs blood
  • Shortages occur most often during summer and winter holidays
  • Reasons people need blood: cancer, surgery, heart disease and emergencies like injuries and burns


Any healthy person 17 or older (16 with parent/guardian consent) who weighs at least 112 pounds may be eligible to donate every 56 days.


Parental Consent Form. NOTE: Be sure to print and bring both pages.


  • Get plenty of rest, drink extra fluids, eat a good meal and avoid alcohol and smoking right before you donate
  • Eat more iron-rich and salty foods than usual 24 hours before you donate (check with your doctor first if you have certain medical conditions)

The entire process takes about 60 minutes.

  1. Registration
    • Sign in with a photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID
    • 16-year-old donors will also need a parental consent form
  2. Screening Area
    • Answer health questions
    • Mini-physical: temperature, pulse and blood pressure are checked
    • A drop of blood from your fingertip is taken to test your iron level
  3. Hydration
    • Drink a bottle of water before you donate
  4. Donation
    • A phlebotomist puts a tourniquet on your arm above the elbow and cleans your skin
    • Blood is collected (usually takes 5-7 minutes)
  5. Post-Donation
    • Take 15 minutes to sit and enjoy a snack
    • Drink more fluids


  • Most people feel fine
  • Drink more nonalcoholic liquids than usual. Your body replaces the liquid volume of donated blood in 24 hours
  • Avoid smoking for 30 minutes
  • Delay exercise until after your next full meal
  • Leave the bandage on your arm for 3-4 hours to avoid infection
  • If you feel light-headed, sit down or if driving, pull off to the side of the road. Wait until you feel better before continuing