New York

Here's How You Can Donate Blood in New York

The State of New York is facing a blood emergency. Here's how to help.

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Donating blood is easier than you think. It can take you only one hour to save three lives.

The State of New York is currently facing a blood emergency, the New York Blood Center recently announced. Due to the recent spike in travel-both because of spring break and regular holidays-NYBC welcomed 6,000 fewer blood donors compared to earlier this year, AMNY reports.

According to NYBC, all blood types are low in storage.

“This time of the year always tends to be difficult for the blood supply, with school spring breaks and increased travel making blood donations less of a priority. These factors are now coinciding with increasing COVID cases and a potential fifth wave of the pandemic,” Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director at New York Blood Center said according to AMNY. “One blood donation has the ability to save up to three lives. We highly encourage all who are able to donate today to help New Yorkers who need it most.”

If you want to learn more about donating blood in NYC, here’s our guide-based off of NYBC’s rules-to help you navigate the subject more easily.

Who can donate blood in New York?

There aren’t many eligibility restrictions to become a blood donor. However, the few rules that apply are very important and should be followed carefully.

According to the NYBC, you can donate blood if you are at least 17 years old (or even 16 with a written consent from a parent or legal guardian, the template of which you can download here). In addition, you also have to weigh at least 110 pounds, and you need to be in good health. It’s important to note that donors between the ages of 16 and 18 are subject to additional height and weight restrictions.

Donors who are 76 or older can continue donating blood as long as they meet the eligibility criteria, and they must submit a physician’s letter allowing them to donate once they reach their 76th birthday. If they don’t present the physician’s letter, an NYBC medical director will assess their health and eligibility at each donation.

Some preexisting medical conditions or medications might preclude you from donating blood, and they divide in permanent and temporary. Permanent conditions that don’t allow you to ever donate blood include: ever testing positive for HIV, ever having had hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or hemophilia, and having had certain types of cancer. Most medications fall under the temporary category, which also includes getting a tattoo. Per the NYBC guidelines, if you received a tattoo in New York State, you must defer from donating blood for three months.

In addition, men who have sex with other men, even if they use protection or are in monogamous relationships, cannot donate blood until three months after their last sexual encounter. This will preclude many gay and bisexual men from donating blood at all, although each person’s individual circumstances can differ.

For a list of all conditions, you can visit this page.

What is the donation process like?

The donation process is fairly straightforward, and it doesn’t require many precautions.

On the day before your donation, you should try and hydrate your body by drinking a good amount of water, which will help with the fluid loss of the next day. The night before your donation appointment, you can eat salty snacks for a better donation experience, and you should get a good night’s sleep. When you wake up in the morning, a good and balanced breakfast is advised, as well as hydrating right before your appointment. Once you’re done donating, you can take a multivitamin with iron to help with the iron loss your body just endured.

When you show up to your NYBC appointment, you’ll be asked to fill a form with your contact information, and you’ll need to answer some questions about your medical history, medication usage, and recent travel.

Next, a technician will check your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, and will take a drop of blood from your finger to analyze the hematocrit level. If you’re cleared to donate, you’ll be directed towards one of the center’s bed, and a specially trained technician will draw your blood or any other component you’re registered to donate.

The donation process only takes 10–12 minutes, and, in a standard donation, you’ll be able to donate less than 1 pint of whole blood. If you think that the average adult has 8–12 pints of blood in their body, that’s not much-and one pint gets replaced by your body fairly quickly.

Once you’re done, you can give yourself a nice pat on the shoulder and relax. The refreshment area at the NYBC will have snacks and beverages for you to enjoy. Usually, NYBC recommends donors to wait around for 10–15 minutes before leaving, and it advises against lifting, pushing heavy objects, or engaging in strenuous exercise for 4 to 5 hours after donating.

How often can I donate blood and other types of cells?

According to the NYBC guidelines, you can donate whole blood every 56 days, or up to six times a year.

To donate automated red cells (Alyx) you need to meet specific minimum height and weight requirements. If you meet them, you can donate the cells every 112 days, or three times a year.

Platelets donors can show up to their platelets donation appointment up to 24 times a year, while those wishing to donate plasma can do so every 28 days.

For a complete list of guidelines about the frequency and type of donation, you can visit this page.

Where do I sign up to donate?

If you want to make an appointment at a blood drive, you can call 1-800-933-2566 or you can visit the NYBC website.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

New York

How to Shop Local for Small Business Saturday in NYC

From West African packaged foods to hand-poured candles.

Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods

Walk around any local neighbourhood throughout the five boroughs, and through empty storefronts, it’s clear that small businesses in NYC have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic.

This year for Small Business Saturday, not only can you show your support by popping in to your favourite shop, but by also making purchases online. Here are just a few brands to spend your money on this holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York
Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York
Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York

Coffee Project New York

Various locations
This coffee roastery focused on inclusivity and sustainable practices has locations in the East Village, Chelsea, and Fort Greene, in addition to a training center in Long Island City. For the holidays, stay caffeinated with Coffee Project New York‘s special Around the World in 12 Days gift set featuring 12 global beans and tasting notes for each.

Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods

Egunsi Foods (part of Harlem incubator program)

Virtual
This online packaged food brand started by ‘Yemisi Awosan when she was homesick for Nigerian flavours during college offers West African goods made with farm-to-table ingredients. From soups and stews to fufu and sauces, Egunsi Foods also has vegan items.

I Like It Black (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
This cozy coffee shop highlights products from coffee roasters in the Black community. In addition to sandwiches, coffee beans, tea, and more, I Like It Black‘s space also offers a great view of Harlem’s historic 125th Street thoroughfare.

Lee Lee's Rugelach
Lee Lee’s Rugelach
Lee Lee’s Rugelach

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
This Harlem institution from Alvin Lee Smalls has been a NYC destination for rugelach since 1965. For sharing during the holidays, at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, the popular Jewish treat that translates to “little twist” in Yiddish is available in a 12, 24, and 36 set, in addition to a special 26-piece gift tin.

Make My Cake
Make My Cake
Make My Cake

Make My Cake Bakery (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
Make My Cake Bakery is run by several generations of the Smith family with recipes passed down from their matriarch, Josephine Smith aka “Ma Smith.” From cakes and cookies and pies and pastries, order flavours ranging from double chocolate delight cupcakes, coconut pecan cookies, cinnamon rolls, and black & white cake. There’s also an Upper West Side location in addition to the Harlem storefront.

Sugar Hill Creamery
Sugar Hill Creamery
Sugar Hill Creamery

Sugar Hill Creamery (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
As longtime Harlem residents, the husband-and-wife team behind Sugar Hill Creamery opened their popular shop in 2017 to be a place for the neighbourhood to grab a seat and enjoy artisanal ice cream made from scratch. In addition to offering an array of flavours like the Chairperson of the Board (blueberry cheesecake) and Nunu’s Peach Cobbler (peach with cobbler crumbler), they also regularly host community based programs throughout the year meant to empower the Black experience while facilitating connection and storytelling. In addition to a location in Hamilton Heights and Time Out Market in Dumbo, products are also available for nationwide shipping.

Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber
Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber
Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber

Schaller & Weber

Upper East Side
Schaller and Weber is an Upper East Side butcher shop that’s been offering German-style sausages and Northern European speciality foods for more than 80 years. If a single order of pate or charcuterie isn’t going to cut it this year, choose from an array of gift packs like the Christmas Gift Box with an array of items ranging from truffle brat to olive oil crackers.

Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames
Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames
Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames

Spoken Flames

Virtual
Spoken Flames is a candle company founded by Shavaun Christian and each candle is hand-poured and made with a natural coconut wax blend. Choose from selections like Sea Sea Me made with salt, melon, musk, and chamomile, and the LOL featuring notes of mango, lavender, and fresh linen.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Tae Yoon was born and raised in Queens, and is the Editor of Thrillist New York.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.
icons/states/check

Please enter a valid email address