When it comes to giving blood, there are no silly questions. Your confidence, convenience and comfort are key in helping us ensure the most positive and memorable experience. You’ve got a question? We’ve got the answer. Go ahead, don’t be shy!
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Statistics show that 25% or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime.
Between 8-12 pints of blood are in the body of an average adult.
A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his body
The following approximate quantities of life-saving blood products are utilized on annual basis in the counties served exclusively by Miller-Keystone Blood Center:
- Approximately 60,000 units of red blood cells
- Approximately 16,000 units of platelets
- Approximately 20,000 units of plasma
Approximately 43,000 units of blood are used each day in the United States.
450 donors are needed to meet the daily needs of transfusion patients in the 22 hospitals served exclusively by Miller-Keystone Blood Center.
Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their iron levels.
No, there are currently no substitutes for human blood. The only source is you, the volunteer blood donor.
Miller-Keystone Blood Center ensures that donated blood is collected appropriately and managed judiciously. We maintain the proper balance of blood collections in accordance with regional usage, and as a result, little to no blood is discarded. Blood products are only lost when patient needs are less than current supplies.
Yes. About 57% of the Latino population is type O, the blood type in greatest demand. That share is 51% for African Americans, and only about 45% for white Caucasians. As certain population groups continue to increase, so does the need for type O blood. It is critical that more Latino and African American donors give blood regularly to ensure that patient needs can be met.
A unit of blood is approximately 525 mL, which is roughly the equivalent of one pint.
- Premature infants may use at least 1 – 4 units of Red Cells.
- Accident victims may use at least 5 – 100 units of Red Cells.
- Burn victims may use at least 20 units of Platelets.
- Cancer patients may use at least 3 – 10 units of Red Cells and 10 – 30 units of Platelets.
- Sickle Cell patients may use at least 10 – 20 units of Red Cells.
- Heart surgery patients may use at least 3 – 8 units of Red Cells, 1 – 10 units of Platelets and 2 – 5 units of Plasma.
- Organ transplant patients may use at least 10 – 30 units of Red Cells, 10 – 30 units of Platelets, 10 – 20 units of Plasma and 20 bags of Cryoprecipitate.
- Bone marrow transplant patients may use at least 15 – 20 units of Red Cells and 100 – 120 units of Platelets.
Cancer patients are the #1 group requiring Platelet transfusions for life-saving treatments.
Blood fights against infection and helps heal wounds.
Cryoprecipitate is a frozen blood product prepared from Plasma.
Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, salts and proteins, including solvable clotting factors; Plasma is 90 percent water and constitutes 55 percent of blood volume.
Platelets are small blood cells that initiate blood clotting, controlling bleeding.
Red Blood Cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissue.
Red Blood Cells can be stored for up to 42 days, while platelets can only be stored for up to 5 days – two of which are used for testing.
1 person in 167 in the United States is AB-. That’s 0.6% of the population.
1 person in 29 in the United States is AB+. That’s 3.4% of the population.
1 person in 67 in the United States is B-. That’s 1.5% of the population.
1 person in 12 in the United States is B+. That’s 8.5% of the population.
1 person in 16 in the United States is A-. That’s 6.3% of the population.
1 person in 3 in the United States is A+. That’s 35.7% of the population.
1 person in 15 in the United States is O-. That’s 6.6% of the population.
1 person in 3 in the United States is O+. That’s 37.4% of the population.
A Universal Plasma Donor belongs to the AB blood group (positive or negative). The plasma of those belonging to the AB blood group may be transfused to anyone regardless of blood type.
A Universal Blood Donor belongs to the O- blood group. The red blood cells of a universal blood donor may be transfused to anyone regardless of their blood type.
The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf at the moment a patient needs it.
The four main blood types are: A, B, AB and O
From school closings to vacations, seasonal illnesses, inclement weather and more, blood shortages of all types typically occur during the summer months and winter holidays.
Miller-Keystone Blood Center often runs short of type O and B blood and AB plasma. Blood shortages of all types occur during the summer months and winter holidays. If all blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
40% of the US population is eligible to donate, yet less than 5% do so on an annual basis.
No. Miller-Keystone Blood Center only accepts volunteer blood donors. According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates all US blood banks, blood or plasma from people who have been paid to donate cannot be used for transfusion to humans.
Sickle Cell Disease is a serious, chronic disease where a person’s red blood cells are crescent-shaped, not round. As such, the cells clog the body’s small blood vessels, causing extreme pain. These abnormal shaped cells die early causing a constant shortage of red blood cells, causing patients to become anemic and increasing their chance of infections and stroke, as well as tissue and organ damage.
One in 500 African-Americans suffer from sickle cell anemia, while one in 12 African-Americans carry the sickle cell trait. Patients with the disease may need 15 to 25 blood transfusions each year.
Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is a serious blood transfusion complication thought to be most commonly caused by white blood cell antibodies present in the plasma component of blood products. When transfused, these antibodies sometimes activate a type of white blood cell that causes plasma to leak into the lungs, resulting in fluid accumulation – a condition referred to as acute pulmonary edema.
About 100,000 people in the United States are thought to be infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease, a potentially life-threatening illness that primarily impacts the cardiac and digestive system. Up to 20 million people are believed to be infected in Mexico, Central and South America. Miller-Keystone Blood Center tests each unit of blood for Chagas disease and discards any positive results.
What happens if I donate blood and realize afterward that I shouldn’t have because I may have been exposed to HIV or another disease?
If you give blood but decide later that your blood may not be safe to transfuse, you should call 1-800-B-A-DONOR immediately and inform our Donor Resources Department.
Miller-Keystone Blood Center practices strict privacy and confidentiality standards. We may contact you by letter or call to arrange a counseling appointment. We will not disclose information regarding positive blood test results to anyone but the donor without your consent, except as required by law.
Yes. Donors who are confirmed positive for any abnormalities or infectious disease are notified immediately and offered counseling by Miller-Keystone Blood Center’s Medical Department.
You should not give blood to get tested for AIDS. Using blood donation as a way to get tested will put the blood supply at risk and endanger the lives of patients in our local hospitals. If you are at risk of getting AIDS or other infectious diseases, do not give blood. Individuals at risk for contracting HIV should contact their local health department for AIDS testing.
Every blood donation is screened for the following:
- ABO and Rh blood types.
- Unexpected red cell antibodies that result from prior transfusions, pregnancy, etc.
- Antibody to Treponema pallidum (syphilis).
- Antibody to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
- Antibody to HCV (hepatitis C virus).
- Antibody to HBC (hepatitis B core antigen).
- HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen).
- Antibody to HTLV (Human T- Lymphotropic virus)
- Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas Disease)
- Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) for HCV, HBV, HIV, Zika and West Nile Virus (WNV)
No – you cannot contract HIV or other viral diseases by giving blood. Sterile procedures and disposable equipment are used in all Miller-Keystone Donor Centers and Blood Drives. Each needle is used once and then safely discarded and disposed.
Giving blood is a safe process. Sterile procedures and disposable equipment are used in all Miller-Keystone Donor Centers and Blood Drives. Each needle is used once and then safely discarded and disposed. There is no risk of acquiring any infectious diseases from the donation process.
After your donation, Miller-Keystone Blood Center performs rigorous testing on your blood to ensure its safety for patients in our local hospitals. After testing, your blood is properly labeled, stored and eventually shipped to one of the many hospitals exclusively served by Miller-Keystone Blood Center.
While Miller-Keystone Blood Center welcomes walk-ins, scheduling an appointment ahead of time is always helpful to ensure short wait times. You can make an appointment online, or call 1-800-B-A-DONOR.
All year round, Miller-Keystone Blood Center partners with the community to host open-to-public Blood Drives with varying schedules and locations throughout eastern PA and western NJ. In addition, Miller-Keystone Blood Center operates nine Donor Centers with regular hours, conveniently located near you.
Miller-Keystone’s #1 priority is safety – of the blood supply and our blood donors! These requirements are in place and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that your blood is safe for patients and that it is safe for you to donate.
It will take your body up to eight weeks for complete replacement of Red Blood Cells. Plasma is replaced within 48 hours.
Imagine a two liter container of soda. When you give blood, you’re donating approximately ¼ of a two liter container, or 525 mL.
The actual donation of Plasma takes about 90 minutes.
The actual donation of Platelets takes 60 to 90 minutes.
The actual donation of a pint of Whole Blood unit takes eight to 10 minutes.
From registration to release, the entire donation process takes about 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the type of donation. The actual collection of blood products will take 10 to 90 minutes.
- Whole Blood = 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Automated Red Cells = 1 to 1.5 hours
- Red Cell + Platelet = 1.5 to 2 hours
- Red Cell + Double Platelet = 1.5 to 2 hours
- Single Platelet = 1 hour 20 minutes
- Double Platelet = 1.5 to 2 hours
- Plasma + Platelet = 1.5 hours
- Jumbo Plasma = 20 minutes
Times do vary by person depending on factors like the donor’s health history.
Lightly pinch the fleshy, soft underside of your arm. Did that hurt? That pinch is similar to what you will feel when the needle is inserted.
- Give Whole Blood every 56 days, up to six times per year.
- Give Platelets every two weeks, up to 24 times per year.
- Give Plasma every four weeks.
- Give Automated Red Cells every 112 days.
Yes. In the case of some patients, physicians can request directed donations, in which patients may designate that a specific individual(s) provide the number of blood units requested by his or her physician. This type of donation is coordinated with the Blood Center’s Special Collections department.
Yes. When an individual is informed by their physician a blood transfusion may be needed for an upcoming elective surgery, they can schedule to donate blood for their own use. This is known as an Autologous Blood Donation. This type of self-donation requires a medical request from your doctor, and is coordinated with the Blood Center’s Special Collections department.
A trained service animal is permitted within the Waiting, Screening, Phlebotomy and Canteen areas of our fixed sites, mobiles and coaches. Service animals shall be in the control of their handler at all times. Service animals should not be left unattended.
You cannot take your child with you through the donation process. The donor room, screening room and canteen are considered biohazard areas and children are not permitted. However, we do offer babysitting services through our certified staff and volunteers at our Bethlehem Donation Center. Please call us at 1-800-B-A-DONOR prior to your scheduled appointment to confirm babysitting service availability.
Traveling outside of the United States will not automatically defer you from giving blood, however, temporary restrictions are placed on potential donors who have visited countries with a high risk of Malaria, Mad Cow Disease, HIV, ZIKA and/or Ebola. Any outside travel does require individual evaluation for possible exposure to infectious diseases. The following information outlines temporary and/or indefinite deferrals as a result of travel.
If prescribed antibiotics, you are eligible to donate 24 hours after your last dose. If taking antibiotics as a preventative measure, you are eligible to donate.
Donors with diabetes prescribed oral medication are eligible to donate, as long as all other medical requirements are met. Please note: if you have used bovine-derived insulin, you are not eligible to donate.
If you received your tattoo within the last year, unfortunately you are unable to donate. You will be eligible to donate again 366 days from the date of the procedure. If you received your tattoo at a medical facility or in the state of New Jersey, you are eligible to donate.
While some types of cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma will defer a donor permanently, other cancer survivors may donate blood after being in remission for at least one year.
Before each donation, your Hematrocrit (iron) level will be checked. As longs as levels are normal on the day of donation, you can give blood. Eating iron-rich meals is recommended before each donation.
While eating a well-balanced diet is important for all donors, simply eating iron-rich foods may not replace all the iron lost from blood donation. Taking multivitamins with iron or iron supplements, either prescribed or over the counter (from a drug store) may help replace iron lost. Iron supplements vary in name and proportion of iron within the tablet/caplet. The most effective dose, type of iron supplement, and length of treatment are currently being studied. Current recommendations range from one typical multivitamin with iron (19 mg iron) to elemental iron caplets (45 mg iron) for up to three months. Your physician or pharmacist may be able to assist you in deciding what dose, type and duration of iron supplement to choose.
If you’re in good health, 16 years of age or older, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, you are most likely eligible to donate blood. There is no upper age limit for blood donors. Click here for general eligibility requirements. If you have more specific questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Miller-Keystone Blood Center’s Donor Resources Department at 1-800-B-A-DONOR.
As a safety measure for both the recipient and the donor, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that we ask the Donor History Questions prior to every donation.
If your donor receipt is lost you will need to complete iScreen again online or at the donation site.
You can skip a question and review it with a Miller-Keystone Blood Center Collection Specialist at the time of your donation.
You can change your answers at any time during the iScreen process by selecting the “Review Answers” button. If you have already completed the iScreenprocess and printed or emailed your iScreen donor receipt, you should notify a Miller-Keystone Blood Center Collection Specialist at the time of your donation.
There may be rare cases you may have to answer all or some of the questions again. Those rare cases may be:
- Your donor receipt is lost or unreadable by the scanner.
- iScreen is not completed on the same day as your blood donation.
- If you didn’t answer a specific question, we will need to ask that question again.
Miller-Keystone Blood Center makes the iScreen available to all internet users. However, some employers may restrict access to certain website. If you have trouble accessing iScreen at your place of business please contact your technical support staff.
- iScreen is not currently supported on tablets.
- Miller-Keystone Blood Center cannot provide technical support outside of our own network. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
- iScreen requires Adobe Reader version 9.4 or newer.
- iScreen is supported on Apple computers running Mac OSX 10.8 and higher using Safari and Firefox
- iScreen is compatible with Internet Explorer versions 6 and above and Firefox
- iScreen is not currently supported on Android or Apple iOS mobile devices. Coming soon!
Your name is the only personal information printed on your donor receipt. After you complete your Donor History Questions, a secure bar code is generated. This bar code can only be read by software accessible at Miller-Keystone Blood Center donation locations. iScreen is designed to timeout after a period of inactivity so no one can access your confidential Donor History Question responses.
- Save time – by completing your Donor History Questions prior to arriving for your blood donation, you could reduce the amount of time spent at the blood center or donation location.
- Privacy – a Miller-Keystone Blood Center staff member will no longer ask your Donor History Questions, which the FDA requires we ask prior to every donation. Only questions skipped or which need further follow up will be asked.
- Convenience – you can complete your Donor History Questions anytime and anywhere, the day of your donation.
- Help save the environment – iScreen is a paperless option.
You can complete your Donor History Questions using iScreen the day of your donation. Questions completed prior to midnight the day of your donation will be invalid and you will have to repeat the interview prior to your donation.
Access iScreen from GIVEaPINT.org on the day of your donation. iScreen is a secure internet based system that will allow you to answer your Donor History Questions confidentially. Then you will be able to print out or email to your smart phone a bar-coded receipt that contains your hidden responses which you will bring with you when you donate.
iScreen is Miller-Keystone Blood Center’s secure & private, online Donor History Questionnaire. iScreen can be used to complete your Donor History Questions before arriving at a blood collection center or blood drive (the FDA requires that your online Donor History Questionnaire be completed on the same day as your donation).
You can give Platelets every two weeks, up to 24 times per year.
Platelets are tiny, colorless, disc-shaped particles circulating in blood that help control bleeding and bruising. Platelets activate a substance in plasma which forms a clot and allows a wound to heal. Since platelets help control bleeding, they are very important for heart surgery patients, burn victims, organ transplant patients, bone marrow transplant patients, accident victims, premature babies, and especially cancer patients.
Cancer is the #1 patient group that needs Platelet transfusions. Some cancer treatments cause anemia and a loss of Platelets. When Platelet levels fall too low, Platelets are transfused into patients to replenish their supply and prevent life-threatening hemorrhages. Many cancer patients require daily Platelet transfusions for several weeks.
Platelets have the shortest shelf life of all blood components, lasting only 5 days. There is a constant need of Platelets for life-saving treatments.
Apheresis is the process by which platelets and other blood components are collected from a donor using a cell separator. Blood is drawn from the donor and Platelets, Plasma and/or Red Cells are collected by the cell separator. The remaining components are returned to the donor along with saline fluid. Each procedure take about one-and-one-half to two hours. Donor may watch movies, read or simply relax during the donation. The word itself is derived from the Greek word “aphaeresis” meaning “to take away.”