An individual making a blood donation during COVID-19

The Need for Blood Donations During COVID-19

Dec 14 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the need for lifesaving blood donations. A single donation has the potential to save three lives.

During normal circumstances, the average supply of donated blood typically falls short of the amount needed. However, during the recent pandemic, donations have dropped to dangerously low levels.

During these unprecedented times, please consider making a blood donation to one of our partner facilities:

Who can donate blood?

To donate blood, you must be at least 16 years old (in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and not feeling under the weather.

Learn more about blood donation eligibility.

Facts about blood needs

  • About 21 million blood components (including plasma, platelets and red blood cells) are transfused in the United States every year.
  • Around 10,000 units of plasma and 7,000 units of platelets are needed in throughout the country each day.
  • The most frequently requested blood type from hospitals is type O. This is because it can be transfused to all blood types.
  • On average, a red blood cell transfusion is around three pints.
  • One car accident victim can require as much as around 100 pints of blood.
  • Many cancer patients need blood, even sometimes daily, while receiving chemotherapy.

Facts about blood supply

  • Only around 3% of age-eligible people donate blood each year.
  • It is estimated that around 6.8 million people donate blood annually.
  • Type AB positive plasma and type O negative red cells can be given to patients of all blood types. However, these are often both in short supply.
  • Red blood cells must be used within 42 days.
  • Platelets must be used within five days.

Facts about the blood donation process

Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments. The actual donation will take about 10 to 12 minutes with the entire process taking a little over an hour. About one pint is given during a donation, and there are 10 pints in the human body.

A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days. They can donate platelets as few as seven days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.

For more information, questions or concerns regarding blood donation, talk to your primary care physician.

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