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Blood Donation Process

The Blood Donation Process

From registration to refreshment it takes 45 minutes to an hour to donate a pint of whole blood or 90-120 minutes to donate double red blood cells and/or platelets. Please plan accordingly as your safety is important to us.

Before Your Donation


  • Schedule your donation by clicking here, call 1-800-B-A-DONOR, or contact your coordinator to schedule an appointment.

Eat & Hydrate

  • Be sure to eat a hearty meal before donation.  Choose salty foods because your body can lose up to 2 mg of salt during donation.
  • Drink plenty of water or non-caffeinated beverages before your donation.  Healthy fluids will keep you hydrated, ensuring a pleasant donation experience.

Donation Process

  • The Whole Blood donation process, from registration to refreshments, takes approximately 45 minutes.  The actual donation time is less than 15 minutes
  • The Automated Red Blood Cell donation process takes 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  • The Platelet donation process takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

During Your Donation

Step 1: Registration

  • Present your Miller-Keystone Blood Center Donor ID Card or proper identification (e.g. driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.)

Step 2: Mini Physical

  • During the mini-physical we check temperature, pulse, hemoglobin and blood pressure.  We draw and test a drop of blood from your finger to ensure the donor has enough iron-carrying red blood cells to safely donate blood.

Step 3: Donor History Questionnaire

  • You will be asked to answer questions about your health history, travel and life-style.
  • All questions gathered are kept strictly confidential.
  • For a quicker pre-donation process, complete your Donor History Questionnaire online through iScreen (iScreen must be completed the same day as your donation) or in a secure, private setting at the Blood Center or blood drive.

Step 4: Donate

  • A trained staff member will clean the area of the arm that will be used for your blood donation.
  • Once the needle is secure, you’ll squeeze a ball to keep the blood flowing.
  • To reduce the chance of a reaction, contract the muscles in your lower body by alternately raising a foot a few inches off the chair for a few seconds at a time.
  • After your donation is complete, a phlebotomist will remove the needle and apply a pressure wrap.
  • Keep your bandage on and dry for 24 hours.

Step 5: Relax and Replenish

  • For your safety, if you donated Whole Blood or Automated Red Blood Cells, you will be asked to stay at least 15 minutes in our canteen where you will sit, relax, and have a snack and drink.
    • We emphasis salty snacks, because salt will help replenish your body’s sodium level.

After Your Donation


  • Drink plenty of water or non-caffeinated drinks for the rest of the day to restore your fluid balance.


  • Avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting.

Check Your Mini-Physical Results

  • After 24 hours, go to the My Profile section of www.GIVEaPINT.org to see all your mini-physical results that were taken the day of your donation.

Enjoy Your Good Deed

  • Your blood donation will travel to an area hospital where it will save someone’s life. Relax and rehydrate as you plan your next donation to Miller-Keystone Blood Center.