How is blood used?

Each unit of whole blood can be separated into three components, or "products.”  Some of the more common uses for blood are:  surgeries, transplants, trauma patients, premature infants, and ongoing treatment for diseases like cancer and sickle cell anemia.


  • Red blood cells for bleeding and anemia (shelf life: 42 days).
  • Platelets for bleeding and low platelet counts (shelf life: five days).
  • Plasma to provide clotting factors (shelf life: can be frozen up to one year).

Find out the best blood donation for your blood type!

Is donating blood safe?  Absolutely! All materials, including needles and bags, used in the donation process are new, sterile, and used only once.  There is no danger of contracting any disease as a result of donating blood.

How long does it take?  Allow an hour for a whole blood donation.  This includes registration, health evaluation, donation and celebrating being a lifesaver. As a blood donor, you have shared an hour of your time and may have given a lifetime to a newborn!

Where do I go to donate?  There are three convenient NCBB collection sites plus blood drives at more than 150 locations.

I take medication, can I still donate?  Most medications will not affect your eligibility to donate blood.  For questions about a specific medication, contact NCBB Donor Services at (402)486-9434 or lifesaver@ncbb.org

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