It’s a fact… you must wait 56 days between whole blood donations.
Now here are 56 other facts about giving blood:
- 4.5 million Americans will a need blood
transfusion each year.
- 43,000 pints: amount of donated blood used each day
in the U.S. and Canada.
- Someone needs blood every two seconds.
- Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible
to donate blood - less than 10 percent do annually.**
- About one in seven people entering a hospital need
- One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
- Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, and
at least 110 pounds may donate about a pint of blood - the most
common form of donation - every 56 days, or every two months.
Females receive 53 percent of blood transfusions; males receive 47
- 94 percent of blood donors are registered
- Four main red blood cell types: A, B, AB and O.
Each can be positive or negative for the Rh factor. AB is the
universal recipient; O negative is the universal donor of red blood
- Dr. Karl Landsteiner first identified the major
human blood groups - A, B, AB and O - in 1901.
- One unit of blood can be separated into several
components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and
- Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's organs
- Red blood cells live about 120 days in the
- Platelets promote blood clotting and give those
with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
- Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins
- Plasma, which is 90 percent water, makes up 55
percent of blood volume.
- Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red
cells, plasma and platelets.
- Blood or plasma that comes from people who have
been paid for it cannot be used to human transfusion.
- Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, roll
along blood vessel walls in search of bacteria to engulf and
- White cells are the body's primary defense against
- Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that
allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as
- Forty-two days: how long most donated red
blood cells can be stored.
- Five days: how long most donated platelets can be
- One year: how long frozen plasma can be
- Much of today's medical care depends on a steady
supply of blood from healthy donors.
- Three pints: the average whole blood and red
blood cell transfusion.*
- Children being treated for cancer, premature
infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets
from donors of all types, especially type O.
- Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase
their red blood cell levels.
- Cancer, transplant and trauma patients, and
patients undergoing open-heart surgery may require platelet
transfusions to survive.
- Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that
affects more than 80,000 people in the United States, 98 percent of
whom are of African descent.
- Many patients with severe sickle cell disease
receive blood transfusions every month.
- A patient could be forced to pass up a lifesaving
organ, if compatible blood is not available to support the
- Thirteen tests (11 for infectious diseases) are
performed on each unit of donated blood.
- Seventeen percent of non-donors cite "never thought
about it" as the main reason for not giving, while 15 percent say
they're too busy.
- The number one reason blood donors say they give is
because they "want to help others."
- Shortages of all blood types happen during the
summer and winter holidays.
- Blood centers often run short of types O and B red
- The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf
when it's needed by a patient.
- There is no substitute for human blood.
- If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood
shortages would be a rare event. (The current average is about
- If only one more percent of all Americans would
give blood, blood shortages would disappear for the foreseeable
- 46.5 gallons: amount of blood you could donate if
you begin at age 17 and donate every 56 days until you reach 79
- Four easy steps to donate blood: medical history,
quick physical, donation and snacks.
- The actual blood donation usually takes about 10
minutes. The entire process - from the time you sign in to the time
you leave - takes about an hour.
- After donating blood, you replace the fluid in
hours and the red blood cells within four weeks. It takes eight
weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.
- You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease
by donating blood.
- 10 pints: amount of blood in the body of an average
- One unit of whole blood is roughly the equivalent
of one pint.
- Blood makes up about seven percent of your body's
- A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his
- Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
- Any company, community organization, place of
worship or individual may contact their local community blood
center to host a blood drive.
- Blood drives hosted by companies, schools, places
of worship and civic organizations supply roughly half of all blood
donations across the U.S.
- People who donate blood are volunteers and are not
paid for their donation.
- 500,000: the number of Americans who donated blood
in the days following the September 11 attacks.
- Blood donation. It's about an hour of your time.
It's About Life.
*Source: The 2007 Nationwide Blood Collection and
Utilization Survey Report, Department of Health & Human
**W Riley, et al. The United States' potential blood donor
pool: estimating the prevalence of donor-exclusion factors on the
pool of potential donors. Transfusion 2007.