Why donate blood?

Blood is essential for life. It contains components that transport oxygen throughout the body and also fight infection. There is no man-made substitute for blood. It is only made in the body. Many patients depend on life-saving transfusions for a number of medical conditions, such as surgery and cancer treatments.

A healthy body can regenerate, or make more, blood in about 4 to 6 weeks. Donating one pint is a small amount of the body’s total blood supply. Typically, there are about 10 to 12 pints of blood in a person’s body.

Who can donate blood?

You must be at least 17 years old in Florida (or at least 16 years old with parental/guardian consent in Ohio and some other states), weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in good health. If you have a cold or the flu on the day you are scheduled to give blood, you should cancel your appointment and reschedule once you are feeling better.

There are some health concerns that can temporarily prevent you from giving blood, such as:

  • Some medications
  • Low levels of hemoglobin (the protein in your body that carries oxygen to cells and carbon dioxide away). If hemoglobin is low, you might have low levels of red blood cells (a condition called anemia).
  • High or low blood pressure or heartbeat
  • Recent travel to a country with malaria risks
  • Recent blood transfusion
  • Pregnancy
  • New tattoos (only in some states). In Ohio and Florida, for example, you don’t need to wait if the tattoo was applied at a state-regulated establishment.

Other health concerns will permanently prevent you from giving blood, such as:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Certain types of hepatitis
  • Foreign travel to certain places during certain time frames

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