The Red Cross, in partnership with the FDA, is playing a critical role in a new initiative to collect plasma, called convalescent plasma, from those recovered from COVID-19. Convalescent plasma has specific antibodies to COVID-19 making it a potentially lifesaving treatment for those with serious COVID-19 infections. If you have recovered from COVID-19 learn more about this program and how to help.
Giving the "right" type of blood donation - based on your blood type and patient needs - helps ensure the best use of your valuable contribution. Here are some things to consider when determining how you can have the most impact.
Whole Blood Donation
Whole blood is the most flexible type of donation. It can be transfused in its original form, or used to help multiple people when separated into its specific components of red cells, plasma and platelets. Learn more about whole blood donations.
Who it helps: Whole blood is frequently given to trauma patients and people undergoing surgery.
Time it takes: About 1 hour
Ideal blood types: All blood types
Power Red Donation
During a Power Red donation, you give a concentrated dose of red cells, the part of your blood used every day for those needing transfusions as part of their care. This type of donation uses an automated process that separates your red blood cells from the other blood components, and then safely and comfortably returns your plasma and platelets to you.
Who it helps: Red cells from a Power Red donation are typically given to trauma patients, newborns and emergency transfusions during birth, people with sickle cell anemia, and anyone suffering blood loss.
Time it takes: About 1.5 hours
Ideal blood types: O positive, O negative, A negative, and B negative
Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. Platelets are most often used by cancer patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
In a platelet donation, an apheresis machine collects your platelets along with some plasma, returning your red cells and most of the plasma back to you. A single donation of platelets can yield several transfusable units, whereas it takes about five whole blood donations to make up a single transfusable unit of platelets.
Who it helps: Platelets are a vital element of cancer treatments and organ transplant procedures, as well as other surgical procedures.
Time it takes: About 2.5-3 hours
Ideal blood types: A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive and AB negative
During an AB Elite donation, you give plasma, a part of your blood used to treat patients in emergency situations. AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type. Plasma is collected through an automated process that separates plasma from other blood components, then safely and comfortably returns your red blood cells and platelets to you. AB Elite maximizes your donation and takes just a few minutes longer than donating blood.