FAQs

Do you have questions we don’t mention below? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Eligibility Questions

Am I eligible to donate blood?

We can help you find out. Click through to our eligibility page for more information. Still have questions? You can always email us at whocandonate@weareblood.org or call us at 512-206-1108. We never want someone to "self defer", or assume they aren't eligible to donate. Reach out and we'll let you know for sure!

How often can I donate blood?

You can donate whole blood every 56 days.

How often can I donate platelets?

You can donate platelets every 10 days.

How often can I donate double red cells?

You can donate double red cells every 112 days.

Platelet Questions

What are platelets?

Platelets are the type of blood cells that help bodies form clots and control bleeding. Only 2% of one whole blood donation is made up of platelets (that equates to about 3 tablespoons). It takes approximately five whole blood donations, compared to one platelet donation, to provide the effective dose of platelets needed for a patient's treatment. Platelets have a very short shelf life and expire five days after collection. We have a constant need for platelet donations.

What is platelet donation?

Platelet donation is very similar to whole blood donation, but is done on a different machine that is able to pull specific blood components out of your blood and return the rest to your body. As a result, platelet donation takes longer than whole blood donation.

How does platelet donation work?

Blood is drawn and channeled through a sterile, single use tubing set and into an automated system. Using a centrifuge build into the automated system, the platelets are collected and the remaining blood components are returned back to you.

How long does platelet donation take?

Anywhere between 70 minutes to 2 hours.

Double Red Cell Questions

What is “double red cell” donation”?

Double red cell donation allows you to give twice the red cells in half the time. Using apheresis technology, red blood cells are drawn while the rest of your blood components are returned to your body.

Am I eligible to donate double red cells?

If you're a man and over 5' 1' and at least 130 pounds, or a woman and at least 5' 5" or at least 150 pounds... then yes!

Questions We Hear A Lot

I just got a tattoo… I can’t donate blood… right?

If you got your tattoo at an accredited tattoo parlor in Texas you can actually donate blood the same day! We always tell people not to "self-defer" or assume they won't be able to donate, always err on the side of asking! You can call 512-206-1108 or email whocandonate@weareblood.org anytime.

Does giving blood hurt?

Many donors say what you feel is like a quick pinch. You won't feel any pain during the blood collection itself.

What should I do after donating blood or platelets?

Drink plenty of decaffeinated, non‐alcoholic fluids, eat a full meal at your next mealtime, leave the bandage in place for 4 hours, avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise, and enjoy the feeling of saving lives in our community!

Is We Are Blood a part of a hospital system or The American Red Cross?

No, We Are Blood is an independent local nonprofit. We Are Blood has been the local provider and protector of the community blood supply since being founded by the Travis County Medical Society in 1951.

What happens to my blood after I donate?

Your blood is immediately processed into multiple "therapeutic components" (for example red blood cells, plasma, and platelets) based on patient needs in our community. It is then put into quarantine while the sample vials are tested. Your testing vials go through 15 different tests every time you donate including infectious disease screenings, blood typing and non fasting cholesterol. Once all the tests have been completed, your blood is labeled and released for distribution to the local health care facility that has the greatest need for your donation.

Can I catch anything from donating blood?

No, you cannot catch a disease from donating blood. All the clinical supplies used during a donation are sterile and designed to be used only once and then disposed.

How much blood do you take?

Just about 500 ml, which is a little less than one pint (the average adult has two pints for every 25 lbs of body weight.

Do you pay donors for giving blood?

No. We Are Blood is strictly a volunteer donor-supported organization and we do not pay for blood donations. FDA regulations also restrict compensation for blood used for human transfusion.

What is the universal blood type?

Type O negative, which occurs in about 9% (according to AABB.org) of the U.S. population is universal DONOR type. It can be given to people with any other blood type. AB positive, which occurs in only 3% of the U.S. population is the universal RECIPIENT type, and can receive blood from any other blood type.

The Donation Experience Questions

What should I do before my appointment?

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a well-balanced meal.

What should I bring with me?

A full belly and a photo ID.

What happens when I arrive?

You'll sign in at the front desk and will be asked to read some information about the blood donation process. Then, we will have you complete a short survey in a private room so we can learn more about your medical and travel history.

How long does it take to donate blood?

It depends on what type of donation you're giving. For whole blood donation, the entire process (from check-in to refreshments) takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Platelet donations take between 70 minutes and 2 hours. No matter what type of donation you're doing, our staff make it fun and help make the time pass quickly.

What happens during the donation process?

First, you'll receive a mini-physical to ensure you're healthy enough to donate blood. We check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hematocrit (red blood cell percentage) levels. Then, one of our phlebotomists will take you into the donation room where they will prepare you for the blood draw. We use sterile, disposable, one-use-only supplies for your donation, so there is not risk of getting a disease from giving blood.

What happens after I donate?

One of our phlebotomists will escort you to our canteen where you'll have your pick from a variety of snacks and non-caffeinated beverages. It's important to drink plenty of decaffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids for the rest of the day to ensure you stay hydrated. You also need to eat a full meal at your next mealtime! Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise: weightlifters should wait 2-3 days before resuming a regular workout.

What happens if I feel faint during or after my donation?

During your donation, let your phlebotomist know how you're feeling. If you feel faint after your donation, lie down or sit with your head between your knees. Avoid any potentially hazardous activities. Drink plenty of fluids and have a hearty snack.

What happens if I develop a bruise?

Apply a cold pack or ice to the area 2-3 times throughout the first day. If your arm is sore the day after your donation, apply heat for 10 minutes, 2-3 times during the day. If you develop a bruise larger than 2-3 inches in diameter, call us at 512-206-1266.

What happens if I experience swelling, pain, numbness, or redness where the needle was inserted?

Call us at 512-206-1266.

What happens if I become ill after donation?

If you experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, or are diagnosed with a serious illness (such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, hepatitis, or cancer), after giving blood, please call us 512-206-1136.