You"ve rolled up your sleeve, confronted a fear of needles, and risked passing out mid-docountry. Congrats, you"re one of the about 6.8 million world who donate blood each year! But also if you"ve shimmied onto that cot and also happily welcomed your post-blood draw cookie, you still may have actually questions around the process. We"ve answered some of the big ones.

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1. Where does the donated blood go?

When you needle up for the American Red Cross, they collect approximately one pint of blood and several test tubes—every one of which are stored in iced coolers until they can be transported to an official Red Cross facility. From tright here, the samples are spun in centrifuges to sepaprice the red cells, plateallows, and also plasma, and also the tubes are sent for testing at among three national labs.

Samples that come back disease-complimentary are then stored at the center—red cells last in a 6 ºC refrigerator for as much as 42 days; plateallows remajor at room temperature in agitators as much as 5 days; plasma have the right to be frozen for approximately a year—till they are shipped to a hospital for use.

2. What do they test for?

Your vials undergo a dozen tests designed to both establish blood kind and to weed out docountries laced through contagious conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and also syphilis. If your sample tests positive for something, your donation will certainly be tramelted, but on the upside they"ll reach out and let you recognize around your diagnosis and offer counseling via a trained skilled.

3. What specifically are platelets, anyway?

Platelets are the tiny, disc-shaped pwrite-ups inside your blood that assist it to clot. They"re essential for patients through illness such as aplastic anemia and also leukemia that hamper the body"s ability to clot and for patients who are undergoing major surgeries. Plateallows are separated from your red blood cells after you donate and also deserve to just be stored up to 5 days. Thus, preserving a huge enough supply deserve to be an worry.

4. How much blood is needed to conserve a life?

It counts on the situation. According to the American Red Cross, the average red blood cell transfusion is around 3 pints, but a single automobile accident victim might need up to 100 pints.

5. Are certain blood types even more valuable than others?


Yes. O positive is the many prevalent blood kind in America—belonging to about 38 percent of the population—and also thus, the a lot of most likely to be necessary for a transfusion. (Type A positive ranks second at 34 percent of the population.) O negative blood types—that"s about 7 percent of people—are taken into consideration the universal donor because their blood have the right to be given to anyone. The least prevalent blood type? AB negative—belonging to just 1 percent of world.

6. How many type of human being donate each year?

Not sufficient. The American Red Cross approximates that much less than 38 percent of the United States population is eligible to donate blood at any kind of provided moment—yet less than 10 percent of those people perform. Each year, around 6.8 million donors offer 13.6 million units of blood. That might sound prefer a lot, however roughly 36,000 systems are necessary across the UNITED STATE each day and also bereason of the short shelf-life, it"s hard to build up an inventory of blood if a lot is needed conveniently.

7. Who isn"t eligible to donate?

Some claims enable 16-year-olds to donate through parental consent, yet a lot of call for blood givers to be at leastern 17. You also need to weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and also be in good basic health and wellness. (If you have actually a cold, flu, or fever before, you will certainly be turned away.) Being a civilization traveler might additionally be an worry. Those that have actually newly checked out nations wright here conditions such as malaria or the Zika virus are prevalent are compelled to wait a set amount of time before giving up a vein. Piercings and also tattoos can likewise temporarily proccasion you from donating depending upon how long ago you acquired them.

8. Is there any kind of way to rate up the process?

While the Red Cross estimates donating blood can take more than an hour—from the moment you fill out your paperwork-related till you accept the post-donation cookie—you can reduced out some time with RapidPass. Users finish develops virtual, then print them off and also bring them to the donation website. For a true walk-in, walk-out experience you deserve to additionally schedule an appointment. Once you"re all erected, the actual blood attract only takes about 10 minutes.

9. How does my body replace the blood lost?

The average adult has between 10 and 12 pints of blood in their body. Because your bone marrow churns out a continuous supply of red cells, plasma, and also platelets, the plasma you give is reput within the initially 24 hours.

10. Wait, then why execute I need to wait 56 days in between donations?


While the plasma is replenished easily, it can take four to 6 weeks for your body to manufacture the red blood cells that are lost. If you"re just donating platelets, which your body reareas within a day, you have the right to offer again after a week. However before, you"re minimal to only 24 complete platelet donations a year.

11. Do I have to execute anything unique after donating?

The American Red Cross says replacing the shed iron with foods items such as spinach, beans, and red meat and also drinking an extra 4 to 8 ounces of non-alcoholic liquid. They likewise advise versus doing heavy lifting and recommfinish maintaining your bandage on for at least five hrs. (Bonus: that renders it much easier to brag to your friends around your largesse!)

12. Why execute they ask for my ethnicity?

According to the New York Blood Center, knowing your race makes it less complicated to match your blood through a needy recipient. "Blood kinds and also antigens are inherited, simply choose eye and hair shade," reads an entry on their webwebsite. "Searching for extremely precise transfusion matches can be choose looking for a needle in a haystack, so it provides feeling to start via donors of the exact same ethnic or racial background as the transfusion recipient." A recent item in The New York Times concurs: "While no one is saying compelled segregation of blood bags, it"s now scientifically establiburned that blood deserve to be racially or ethnically particular."

13. Can you really make money donating blood?

You can score between $20 and also $45 for donating plasma at among the 530 licensed and also IQPP certified plasma repertoire centers in the U.S., Canada, and also Europe. The procedure is equivalent to donating blood, other than that as soon as the whole blood is attracted, the plasma is separated out and the rest of the blood is returned to your body. (The totality procedure takes between 90 minutes and also 2 hours.) However, this plasma typically does not go right to disease-stricken donees. Instead, it"s provided to pharmaceutical suppliers that usage it to create medicine for a range of conditions.

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14. Can I donate blood to myself?

Yes, yet it takes some legjob-related. You deserve to do what"s referred to as an autologous donation—wright here you donate blood to be supplied on yourself in the time of a surgical procedure or planned medical procedure—but you"ll need a prescription from your medical professional.

15. Is there any type of substitute for blood?

Not yet. However the Amerihave the right to Red Cross claims they are diligent about tracking study that could aid identify an alternative. "The Red Cross proactively adheres to blood substitute research," reads a note on their website, "and works closely via various other institutions that construct new transfusion alternatives."