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Frequently Asked Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions

Does it hurt to donate blood?

Very little. With just a slight bit of discomfort, you will be helping someone who is hurting a great deal. During the Medical Screening, there is a finger stick, which is like poking your finger with a pin. Most donors confess that this is the worst part. The actual donation is only a slight pinch, but should not be very painful. One of our donors said: “Take your right hand and pinch the inside of your left arm as hard as you can. Donating blood hurts less than that!”

How old do I have to be?

Donors must be at least 16 years of age with parental consent. There is no upper age limit.

Will I find out what type of blood I have?


How often can I donate?

Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, or up to 6 times a year.

Should I eat before I donate?

Yes. Donors are encouraged to eat a low-fat meal at least 4 hours before donating blood. It is also recommended that you drink plenty of fluids before your appointment as well.

How does my body make blood?

Blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Each red blood cell lives for almost 120 days before it wears out and is replaced by a new one. Your body recycles platelets every 5 days. Your body is continually producing and replacing blood cells, thus making it very safe for you to donate the small portion that we need.

How much blood do I have and how much do you take?

A good rule of thumb is that blood usually accounts for 7% of your total body weight. The average person has between 10 to 12 pints of blood in circulation at any given time. We will be taking 450ml (one pint), which your body will begin to replenish immediately.

Do we need you?

Yes, we do. Approximately 450 pints of blood per month, or about 5600 pints per year, are needed here in the Orangeburg-Calhoun area alone. Most of our blood needs at the Regional Medical Center are supplied by members of the Blood Assurance Program. Nature has made it easy for us to give blood. An average person has 10-12 pints of blood in their body. Normally, it does not affect a person to give a pint of blood. The blood volume is replaced quickly in a few hours.

The Blood Assurance Program depends on voluntary blood donors. It takes only a little time and a little effort to assure that blood will be available for you and your family when you need it. Those individual members in good standing who have donated two or more gallon of blood will be issued life membership. Such a membership insures coverage for the member and his or her dependents for life should the member become an ineligible donor due to age or physical conditions. Those members who have chosen to cover additional families will be issued life memberships on a one family per each additional two-gallon donation. Incidentally, this coverage extends to almost every city in the United States through the Regional Medical Center affiliation with the American Association of Blood Banks.

Blood Facts

  • Blood makes up about 7 percent of your body’s weight
  • Just one pint of blood can help save the lives of several people
  • Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live
  • There is no substitute for human blood
  • Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors
  • Volunteers provide nearly all of the nation’s blood supply for transfusion
  • Every three seconds someone needs blood
  • Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States
  • Shortages of all types of blood often occur during the summer and winter holidays
  • 60% of the population of the United States is eligible to donate, yet only 5 percent nationally do so.
  • If all blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly strengthen the nation’s blood supply
  • Anyone who is in good health, is at least 16 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate blood every 56 days
  • Blood donation takes four steps: medical history, quick physical, donation and snacks
  • The actual blood donation takes 5 to 10 minutes. The entire process from when you sign in to the time you leave, takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
  • You cannot get AIDS or any other blood disease by donating blood
  • A heart surgery uses an average of six pints of red blood cells and six pints of platelets
  • The average liver transplant patient needs 40 pints of red blood cells, 30 pints of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate, and 25 pints of fresh frozen plasma
  • The average bone marrow transplant requires 120 pints of platelets and about 20 pints of red blood cells
  • If you began donating blood at the age of 16 and donated every 56 days until you reached the age of 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood
  • One out of every 10 patients entering a hospital needs blood