BAKERSFIELD, CA – Did you know that there are different components in your blood and each component has its own strength? Our blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Many of these blood components are very important when it comes to the needs of our local patients, but at this time, the need for platelet donors is crucial. Houchin Community Blood Bank needs to collect 30 – 40 platelets a day in order to meet our local patient’s and hospitals’ needs.

Platelets are small cells in the blood that help with clotting and are important for people who have bleeding disorders, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or those with certain types of cancer. The donation process involves taking blood from the donor’s arm and passing it through a machine called the apheresis machine. This machine separates the platelets from the rest of the blood components and collects them into a donation bag. Unlike other blood donation procedures, platelet donors are able to donate more often since their red blood cells are returned back to their bodies during their donation. Platelet donors can donate as soon as 7 days after their previous donations or they can donate up to 24 times a year.

Donors are first screened to ensure they meet the necessary eligibility criteria, which includes being at least 17 years old, weighing at least 110 pounds, and having a sufficient platelet count and vein. Donors must also be in good health and not have any infections or illnesses. Donors must also be off of aspirin* for 48 hours prior to their platelet donation in order to be eligible to donate. If a female is interested in donating platelets and has had a history of pregnancy carried to term, Houchin will need to test them for HLA, which can be done at any of our donor centers or mobile blood drives. HLA stands for human leukocyte antigens, which are antibodies that are unique to a person’s body after having a child. These antibodies are not harmful to the person who made them, but can cause serious complications to a transfusion recipient if received.

The platelets in our blood have a short lifespan of about seven days after donation with two of those days being used for testing to ensure the product is safe to transfuse. Because platelets have a short shelf life and the demand is high, donors are encouraged to donate regularly.

Your platelet donations could make a lasting impact on someone’s life. There are patients relying on our community to continually donate to keep them alive. Make your next platelet appointment by visiting If you are new to donating platelets or are interested in learning more, please call us at 661-323-4222.

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*If you are taking aspirin per doctor’s orders, please consult with your doctor before getting off your medication.

Courtesy of Houchin Blood Bank-