Blood Donation FAQs

It's normal to have questions related to blood donations. If your question is not listed below or if you would like additional information, contact REX Blood Services at 919-784-4750.

Why should I become a blood donor?

There is no substitute for blood and people are the only source. Blood is something you can spare, but there is not enough to go around - which is why REX Blood Services needs your donation. Each pint of blood you donate can save up to 3 lives!

Are blood donors paid?

No. All blood collected for transfusion in the U.S. is given by volunteer blood donors.

However, by donating blood at REX Donor Center you can participate in the ‘Donate for Life’ program and earn rewards for your donation.

What are the minimum requirements to become a blood donor?

To donate blood you must be at least 17 years of age, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.

There are certain medical conditions and medications that can prohibit you from making a blood donation. If you have questions or concerns about whether you can give blood, call REX Blood Services at 919-784-4750.

How often can I donate blood?

Whole blood can be donated once every eight weeks.

Platelets can be donated once every three days.

Apheresis or automated donations during which plasma is also collected, can be performed every four weeks.

Apheresis or automated donations during which red blood cells are also collected, can be performed every eight weeks.

Double red cell donations can occur every 16 weeks.

How long does it take to replenish my blood after a donation?

It takes 24 hours for your body to replenish the fluid lost from a blood donation. It may take up to two months to replace lost red blood cells.

Is there anything I should do before I donate?

Before making your blood donation, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat well (during regular mealtimes).

When you come in to make your donation, make sure to wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled above the elbow.

Will it hurt?

No. You may feel a slight sting in the beginning, but this should only last a few seconds. There should be no discomfort during the donation process.

How will I feel after I donate?

Most people feel great after giving blood. However, if you feel any abnormal symptoms be sure to alert a staff member.

You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for the 24 hours following your blood donation. Otherwise, as long as you are feeling well, you can resume full activity.

What are the most common blood types?

Approximate distribution of blood types in the U.S. population are as follows:

  • O positive - 38%
  • O negative - 7%
  • A positive - 34%
  • A negative - 6%
  • B positive - 9%
  • B negative - 2%
  • AB positive - 3%
  • AB negative - 1%

What blood types am I compatible with?

All blood is made of the same basic elements, however not all blood is alike. There are eight common blood types.

In an emergency, blood type O- can be given to anyone because it is most likely to be accepted by all blood types. O- is the Universal Donor.

  • Type A+ can donate to A+, AB+.
  • Type A- can donate to A-, A+, AB+, AB-.
  • Type B+ can donate to B+, AB+.
  • Type B- can donate to B-, B+, AB-, AB+.
  • Type AB+ can donate to AB+.
  • Type AB- can donate to AB-, AB+.
  • Type O+ can donate to O+, A+, B+, AB+.
  • Type O- can donate to all types.

What types of tests are performed on donated blood?

After your blood is drawn, it is tested for ABO group (blood type) and RH type (positive or negative). It is also tested for any unexpected red blood cell antibodies that may cause problems for the recipient.

The following screening tests are performed on donated blood:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg)
  • Hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)
  • Hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV)
  • HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2)
  • HIV p24 antigen
  • HTLV-I and HTLV-II antibody (anti-HTLV-I and anti-HTLV-II)
  • Serologic test for syphilis
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT)
  • Antibody test for Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas' disease

Can I donate blood if I have anemia?

You cannot donate blood if you have anemia (or low hematocrit levels). Anemia can often be a temporary condition.

Your hematocrit will be tested before you donate to make sure it is at an acceptable level.

Can I donate blood if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, you can still donate blood as long as your blood pressure is under control and within the limits set in the donation guidelines.

Can I donate blood if I’m taking aspirin or other medications prescribed by my doctor?

Aspirin and ibuprofen will not affect a whole blood donation.

If you are participating in a platelet apheresis donation, you must NOT take aspirin or aspirin products within 48 hours of your donation.

There are some medications that can affect your ability to donate blood. If you have questions about medications you are currently taking or would like to verify acceptable medications, call Rex Blood Services at 919-784-4750 prior to your donation.

How can I become a bone marrow donor?

You can also join the Delete Blood Cancer bone marrow registry during your visit to REX Donor Center.

If you are eligible to become a bone marrow donor, we’ll have you fill out a short questionnaire and swab the inside of both cheeks.

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