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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Blood Center / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Minimum age to donate is 16 with signed parent consent, but there is not an age maximum. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds.

People can donate whole blood every 56 days and platelets every two (2) weeks.

Yes. There is NO risk of contracting a bloodborne disease from donating blood. Sterile procedures and disposable equipment are used. A new and sterile needle is used to collect blood from each donor. Once the donation is collected, the needle is immediately discarded. Fluids lost through blood donation are generally replenished within a few days. Red cells regenerate in about 4-8 weeks.

Donors may sometimes feel a quick pinch initially for a few seconds and then the feeling tends to go away. The feeling that you are saving lives is truly amazing, however!

Donors should be well hydrated on donation day and eat before they donate. It is also important to eat regular meals throughout the day and hydrate well. Photo ID is required at donation time. Donors aged 16 must bring a parent to donate with them to sign a consent.

  • Because less than 5% of the eligible population donates. That means more than 95% of the population is reliant upon the few lifesavers who donate. More people are needed to prevent blood shortages.
  • Because there is no other source for blood other than from people willing to give it. Someone’s life depends on you!
  • Because 1 in 3 people will need a transfusion in his/her lifetime.
  • Because 1 in 10 people entering a hospital will need blood.
  • Because each pint of whole blood can be broken down into three components: red, cell, plasma and platelets you can save up to three lives with a single donation. Since people can donate every 56 days you can save the lives of up to 18 people each year!
  • Because every three seconds someone in the U.S. receive blood. We need your help to ensure our friends and family who need blood have it when they suddenly need it.

• A cold/flu: No, you must wait until you are symptom-free and feel well and healthy.
• Ear piercing: You can donate if the ear piercing was professionally performed by using a sterile, single-use tool AND it has been two weeks since the ear piercing AND it is completely healed.
• Body piercing: Yes, you can donate if it was performed by a Florida state-regulated facility using sterile, single use tool AND it has been two weeks since the piercing AND it is fully healed.
• Acupuncture: Donors are eligible the third day after the date of procedure AND the acupuncture must have been performed by a physician or licensed acupuncturist using sterile, single-use skin penetration equipment.
• Tattoo: You can donate if your tattoo was applied by a Florida state-regulated entity using a sterile, single-use tool AND ink that is not reused. If you meet above criteria and have a new tattoo, then you must wait two weeks after receiving the tattoo AND be completely healed. Donors who received tattoos in another state or outside the United states must wait 3 months.
• Permanent cosmetic make-up tattooing: Donors are eligible two weeks after the most recent procedure AND it was applied in a physician’s office using a sterile, single-use tool AND ink that is not reused.
• If I am currently pregnant? No.
• If I just had a baby? You can donate six (6) weeks post-delivery and you CAN donate if you are breastfeeding. Drink plenty of water before and after donating.
• If I am menstruating? Yes, provided that your hematocrit is in range. Hematocrit measures the percentage of red cells and is taken by a small sample taken from the donor’s finger.
• High blood pressure? Yes, provided that your blood pressure is within the acceptable criteria with or without medication.
• Allergies? Yes, unless you have a sinus or respiratory infection.
• Diabetes? Yes, you may donate if you have it under control.
• Received a flu shot? Yes, you may donate if you feel well and healthy after the shot.
• Other vaccine/shots: It depends upon the shot. Call 239-624-4120 for eligibility.
• Cancer? It depends on the type of cancer; some cancers require a waiting period before resuming blood donations. Therefore, it is best to discuss what type of cancer and the treatment you received with one of our staff to determine your eligibility. Call 239-624-4120.

Most medications do NOT prevent someone from donating including antidepressants, aspirin, birth control, hormone replacement therapy and medicines for allergies, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or thyroid. However, we do want to know if you are taking any medications on the medication deferral list that we give you to read on donation day. If you are taking an antibiotic for an infection you must wait until the next day after the last dose AND be symptom-free. Each donor must be evaluated on an individual basis regarding health conditions, medications they take and any surgical procedures they have had. Some health conditions or medications may temporarily or permanently prevent persons from donating blood. If you have a question regarding your eligibility to donate blood and would like to discuss it with someone call 239-624-4120.

Your eligibility depends upon where and when you traveled. Our staff will evaluate your travel to determine if you can donate blood.

  • If you traveled to an area considered endemic for malaria you must wait three months before giving blood.
  • Donors who have spent time that adds up to five years or more in France or Ireland from 1980-2001 are not eligible to donate.
  • Anyone who spent time in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands) for a total of three months or more from 1980–1996 is not eligible to donate.

Yes, a health history questionnaire must be completed by donors on the day of donation as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the safety of the donor and the safest possible blood supply.

The entire blood donation process, from arrival time to departure time is about 45 minutes. The actual blood draw only takes about ten minutes. Regular whole blood donors do not require an appointment at our Naples Branch office but may need to pre-register at some blood drive locations to ensure social distancing guidelines are being followed. See each individual blood drive listing for additional details about each blood drive.  

Platelet donations are by appointment only and occur at the NCH Community Blood Center’s Naples branch office located inside NCH North Naples Hospital. Appointments are also required for autologous and therapeutic phlebotomies for patients who have underlining medical conditions that are being monitored by a physician or for people having surgery. Call 239-624-4120 to make an appointment.

Some people have medical conditions that require them to have blood drawn regularly. This type of donation is called a therapeutic phlebotomy. There is a specific process for this to be done at NCH Community Blood Center and appointments are required for this procedure. Call 239-624-4120 for more details and to make an appointment.

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