Blood and platelets are formed by the body, go through a life cycle, and are continuously replaced throughout life. This means that you can donate blood and platelets more than once. It is safe to donate blood every 56 days and platelets every four weeks.
- Blood is stored in a blood bank according to type (A, B, AB, or O) and Rh factor (positive or negative). Blood can be used whole, or separated into packed red cells, plasma, and platelets, all of which have different life saving uses. It takes only about 10 minutes to collect a unit (one pint) of blood, although with the testing and screening, the process of donating blood takes about an hour.
- Platelets are tiny cell fragments that circulate throughout the blood and aid in blood clotting. Platelets can be donated without donating blood. When a specific patient needs platelets, but does not need blood, a matching donor is found and platelets are separated from the rest of the blood which is returned to the donor. The donor’s body will replace the missing platelets within a few hours.
Did you know? To donate blood or platelets, you must be in good general health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 16 years old. If a person is 76 or older, they will need doctor’s written approval for blood or platelet donation.