Because the need for blood remains constant, the Red Cross urges donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets to help keep supplies ready to go, so they are ready for all patients when they need them the most.
The Red Cross must collect about 14,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients across the U.S., but only about 3 percent of the population donates blood each year. That’s why it’s so important for generous donors to roll up their sleeves and give a life-saving gift.
Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. The Red Cross recommends drinking plenty of fluids on the day of donation, wearing comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up, eating iron-rich foods in the weeks prior to donation and bringing a list of any medications taken along with a photo I.D. or blood donor card.
The actual donation only takes about 10-12 minutes, but donors should allow one hour for registration, a confidential health history session and refreshments after their donation.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.