For a small state, there are plenty of opportunities to save lives. We have six blood donation centers conveniently located throughout Rhode Island. Each offers maximum donor comfort, including comfortable donation lounge chairs, TV, free WIFI and parking. The state-of-the-Art automated blood donation technology allows donors to give just the part of their blood -- red cells, platelets or plasma -- patients need the most based on the donor's blood type. In addition, we hold over 1,000 mobile blood drives out in the community each year.
Over 370,000 people in Rhode Island are eligible to give blood, but only about 5 of the population actually donates. Giving life through blood and stem cell donations uniquely comes from you and your willingness to roll up your sleeve to donate blood, register to BeTheMatch and sponsor drives.
Many people think they cannot donate blood before they even try. That's often because of myths like being too old, taking medications, or having a physical condition that prevents donation. In most cases, it's not true! More often than not, you can donate even if you've recovered from a heart attack, cancer, have diabetes, or are taking many different types of medications. Get the facts. Our medical team can also confidentially answer specific questions you have about donating.
The one thing each donor experience has in common is the amazing feeling of knowing you just gave someone else a second chance at life. More than time or money, you are donating your lifeblood, a part of you that provides strength, energy and vitality to another human being in need.
Your safety is our first priority. We collect blood in a safe environment, and all of the materials are sterile, used only once, and for you alone. You cannot get HIV or any other disease from giving blood. Our staff also receive advanced training in blood donation phlebotomy, as well quality and safety standards.
The time it takes to give a pint of blood is only about 5 to 10 minutes. The rest is registration, filling out a health questionnaire, meeting with a donor specialist for a quick health assessment and spending 10 minutes in the post-donation refreshment area.
Other types of blood donations, such as platelet and double red cell donations, take a little longer. It takes about 30 minutes for a double red cell/plasma donation and about 90 minutes for platelets. Because you can give just the part of blood patients need the most based on your own blood type, we hope you will try an automated apharesis donation.
Donating blood does not make you sick. To avoid any negative effects, such as dizziness or fatigue, make sure you prepare for your donation. After donating, please follow the post-donation recovery instructions, including hydration, avoiding strenuous activities for 24 hours, eating well, etc.
Most medications are okay for donating blood, including common medications for asthma, allergies, high cholesterol, blood pressure, depression and other mood disorders. Very few medications on their own prevent people from donating. Examples of medications that will prevent blood donations include Proscar (30 days from last dose) and Avodart (six months from last dose).
If you are donating platelets, you must refrain from taking Aspirin or products containing Aspirin for 48 hours prior to donation. You can take Aspirin if you are donating whole blood; however, we will not be able to use the platelets portion of your donation for transfusion. Very little medication remains in blood given to patients.
Depending on what type of cancer it was, you may still be able to donate if the cancer has been removed or eradicated and treated. Even if you received chemotherapy or radiation, you can donate blood one year after completing the treatment if the cancer is gone. If you did not need to receive chemotherapy or radiation, then you may be able to donate after you have recovered from the surgery.
If you've had chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer that did not involve lymph nodes, more people can donate one year after completing treatment if you are in remission. If the breast cancer involved lymph nodes, survivors must wait 10 years after completing treatment to donate blood again.
If you have recovered from your surgery and did not need a transfusion or only received your own blood, you can donate when you feel up to it. If you received a transfusion from anyone apart from your own blood, you have to wait 12 months to donate.
We don't test for iron, but as long as your hemoglobin/hematocrit level is normal at the time of donation, you can donate. We test your hemoglobin before you donate each time with a simple finger stick test.
If the tattoo was done at a licensed establishment in Rhode Island, you can donate after it is clean, dry, and pain free. Please call 401-453-8307 if your tattoo was done elsewhere. In general, we accept donors who have had recent tattoos in states and towns that use sterile needles and do not reuse ink.
As long as your blood pressure is not higher than 180/100 you can donate blood. Many people take medications to control their blood pressure and that's okay. If your blood pressure is too high when you come to donate, we may wait a few minutes and take it again to see if it goes down. If it does, you can continue the donation process.
If you were on antibiotics for an infection, you may donate after the antibiotics course was completed and as long as you are feeling well and symptom-free. Some low-dose antibiotics for acne and other long-standing conditions may be acceptable even if you are still taking them.
Yes. If you have had Lyme disease in the past but are feeling fine now, you may donate blood. Lyme disease has never been shown to be transmitted by blood, but we screen donors by questioning and do not accept donors who are not feeling well and healthy on the day of donation.
You must wait one year after travelling to a malaria-risk area. We follow the Centers for Disease Control's decisions about which areas are considered malarial risk, and these can change. If you are planning to travel outside of the US, and you are eligible to donate, the best thing to do is to give before you go!
Travel to or living in the United Kingdom (UK) for three months or more between 1980-1996 prevents an individual from donating. Receiving a blood transfusion in the UK from 1980-1996 prevents an individual from donating. Receiving bovine (cow) insulin since 1980 may prevent people from donating unless they know that the source wasn't from the UK. Living or travelling in Europe for a period adding up to five years since 1980 prevents an individual from donating blood. Living on a military base for six months between 1980-1990 North of the Alps, or between 1980-1996 South of the Alps, prevents people from being able to give blood.
As of May 23, 2016, the Rhode Island Blood Center began accepting blood donations from men who have had sex with another male, as long as the male-to-male sex occurred at least 12 months prior to giving blood. Please call 401-453-8307 if you have been deferred in the past or if you have any questions.