Giving BloodGives Life to Our Community
Blood is often in short supply in Central Florida and your donation can literally save lives. We work closely with Florida’s Blood Centers to ensure this vital resource is available to those who need it most. Florida’s Blood Centers offers donation sites throughout Florida, along with mobile units that provide an even greater level of convenience. Simply visit their website to schedule an appointment, search for their locations, or find out if one of their mobile “Big Red Buses” or “Little Red Buses” is making a scheduled stop near you.
Giving blood is both easy and convenient. The first step is to fill out a brief and confidential medical history questionnaire designed to identify potential donors who may be higher risk in terms of blood-borne infections and may not be able to give blood as a result.
People in this group include:
- Anyone who has used illegal injection drugs or steroids that were not prescribed by a physician.
- Men who have had sexual contact with other men since 1977.
- Anyone who has received clotting factor concentrates, has had hepatitis since their 11th birthday or has tested positive for HIV.
- Men or women who have engaged in sex for money or drugs since 1977.
- Anyone who has babesiosis or Chaga’s disease or has taken etrentinate for psoriasis.
- Anyone who has risk factors for or a blood relative with Crutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
- Anyone who spent three or more months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996 or had a blood transfusion in the UK or France between 1980 and today.
- Anyone who spent five years in Europe between 1980 and today.
If you can donate blood you will be given a brief examination to check your temperature, pulse and blood pressure. Your hemoglobin levels are also checked using a finger prick test and if everything is order, you’re ready to donate.
You can donate blood every 56 days. After sitting in a reclining chair or laying down, a technician will insert a new, sterile needle into your arm which is attached to a blood bag. It takes about 10 minutes to transfer a pint of blood into the bag. When the process is complete, the needle will be removed and a small dressing placed on the site.
After donating blood, you’ll have a light snack and rest in the observation area. After about 10 to 15 minutes you can leave. You should drink extra fluid for the next day or so and don’t do any strenuous activity or lifting for five hours after you’ve donated. Feeling a bit lightheaded is normal. If you do, lie down until the feeling passes. If you experience any soreness, take acetaminophen. Avoid ibuprofen and aspirin, as these will thin your blood.
If you have the following symptoms, contact your doctor or blood donor center:
- Feel nauseas, lightheaded or dizzy, even after drinking, eating and resting.
- See a raised bump at the site of the needle insertion, bleeding that won’t stop or pain when you remove the bandage.
- Pain or tingling down your arm and into your fingers.
- Feel like you have a cold or flu with similar symptoms, such as a headache, sore throat or fever within four days of your donation. This could be a sign of a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to the potential recipient.