To Give or Not To Give…

After regularly donating blood for several years, the Red Cross contacted me regarding my high platelet count. They asked me if I would consider donating platelets, so I said sure. I knew that whole blood and platelets were always in high demand. They assured me that it was very similar to donating whole blood with a few differences.

A thank you gift from the Red Cross
Red Cross swag for being a first time platelet donor

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Platelet donation involves a bigger time commitment (typically 2 hours) and involves a little more machinery. However, it does still use a single needle in your arm. (Update: The Red Cross has gone back to a two-needle donation process.) It wasn’t painful although I did feel a little weird during the process. Maybe that was just me though!

My biggest problem was my body temperature. It kept falling below where it should have been, which alerted the machines. It seemed like a Red Cross technician was constantly coming over to make it stop beeping. (I almost felt like I was hoarding their time although they were really nice about it.) When the machine beeped, the needle would actually vibrate in my arm because my vein was hardening. It was a strange sensation, although not painful. It was more of a discomfort, because it made the needle entry into my arm feel tight.

Join the Movement
Donate blood or platelets today!

I was wrapped in blankets (including one around my arm) with a heating pad on medium heat on top of me. I was even given a heat pack to squeeze instead of a stress ball in order to warm up my arm. I did make it through the experience, and I’m glad I did it. Despite the body temperature issues, I’ll probably donate platelets again, because they’re always in such high demand.

If you don’t currently donate, consider the following…

  • Your platelet donation has the power to enhance the lives of up to 3 patients in your area.
  • With a shelf life of only 5 days, platelets are in constant demand.
  • In order to meet the patient needs in Northern Ohio, the Red Cross must collect over 300 platelet products each week.
  • You can donate platelets up to 24 times in a year and still continue to donate whole blood.

Have any other platelet donors experienced internal body temperature issues while donating? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to better regulate for next time (besides wearing a parka)? Ha! I would love to hear of your experience and any suggestions.

For additional information on donating platelets, visit

Save a life… donate blood or platelets if you can!

*Want to read more about my platelets donation experience? Here’s an update four years in.)


Published by Jaime Shine

I love to write. While most kids were playing with blocks or dolls, I was publishing magazines and newspapers – feature articles, ads, sports box scores, the whole nine yards. From promotions director to advertising roles to branding projects, I’ve always been interested in all forms of marketing. That interest blossomed into a career path and led me to open my own business, which has always been a dream of mine. And I’d love to work my magic for you. Check out my company's services, discover more about me or chime in on my blog, covering a variety of topics, at

18 thoughts on “To Give or Not To Give…

  1. Hey Jaime-
    I’ve given platelets off & on for about 10 years, and only felt chilled 2 or 3 times, in the heart of Summer as I recall, so maybe the AC was really cranked up.

    The movie selection is pretty good too-I never would have seen “Nobody’s Baby” & some other ones otherwise.


    1. Thanks for the feedback, Paul! I didn’t even think of the AC being cranked… next time, I’ll have to dress more accordingly. It’s funny, because the guy next to me seemed fine. Nice to hear that you enjoyed the movies being shown! The guy next to me and I were both watching ESPN. Next time, I’ll have to scroll through the channels more.


  2. I know this is an old post, and I hope you have been able to continue to give platelets! I’ve donated about 6 times and I’m ALWAYS cold. Tonight I was actually uncomfortable, shivered constantly for the first hour of the donation. I think it has something to do with the anticoagulant used to keep the blood flowing. My donation center has an excellent blanket warmer, and all the seats have chair warmers. I’ve never gotten any swag though!


    1. Jen,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I do still donate and still freeze (and sneeze) every time. I’m that person — extra long heating pad, 2-3 blankets, hand warmer, etc. No heated seats though! I’ll have to talk to someone about that. LOL I just scheduled my December appointment today, #12 on the year. Thanks for taking the time to donate!


  3. Old post, but thanks for sharing your experiences. I don’t think the machine beeps due to body temperature (though it feels important to you, surely!). It’s the machine drawing blood out of you, creating a bit of suction. If you’ve forgotten to squeeze the ball the machine beeps to technicians that it’s pausing the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’m still under blankets most days when I donate, but my body has adjusted to the platelets donation process now. The Red Cross workers mentioned that the machine beeps for multiple reasons, including if your body temp falls too low (which slows down the process). But who knows? At least it takes my platelets and plasma! 💖


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    1. Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Check out some of our more recent articles; there are more long-form options. If you’re looking for more information on a specific topic, let us know.


  5. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog
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    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.


    1. We haven’t received any other feedback regarding slow-loading images lately. If you’re still experiencing this issue, could you provide some additional information?

      Is it only on this post or acroos the entire site?
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  6. Hi,
    I just came out from donating platelets (Apheresis) and couldn’t figure out why I felt so cold; I rarely feel cold. Then it occurred to me that during the process I had been under a few blankets and a heating blanket/pad which is approx. 4′ long so it covers most of my body. The heating blankets used at the American Red Cross (in San Jose, CA) make a high difference. I always let the people there know that I’ll want it so they can preheat it. If your donation center doesn’t have heating blankets/pads, you may inquire about bringing your own in. Also, due to being gluten intolerant (celiac disease), I am unable to consume tums. Therefore I take extra calcium the day before and the day of donation to keep my lips from going cold/numb. It’s another thing that helps me a lot.
    As for the machine beeping, it always happens when I start falling asleep and quit squeezing the ball. Or times up; I’m done.
    This year (2016), I donated 12 times. It would have been more except I had a problem getting my iron level to stay high enough. (I learned not to have caffeine or milk an hour or two around the time I take my iron and vitamin C pills. And it works.)

    Deb J

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deb, thank you for sharing your experience! I appreciate your tips and hope that other readers will decide to donate platelets or blood as well. It’s an amazing feeling to help people, and I look forward to continuing to do so. Best of luck going forward!


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