It can take a while to replenish blood components after a donation

Adam Cohen and Dr. Judith James

Although it takes several weeks for our blood to return to normal after a donation, most people can resume usual activity levels the same day.

Adam’s Journal

We had a blood drive recently at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. When I complimented a coworker for participating, he mentioned it takes the body 56 days to “replenish” that pint of donated blood. Is that true?

Dr. James Prescribes

Not exactly. Blood donation centers require donors to wait eight weeks — 56 days — between donations to ensure their body has had adequate time to replenish the blood components lost during the previous donation. But the process doesn’t usually take that long.

When you donate blood, you give up a little less than 10% of your blood volume. In a healthy donor, plasma, the liquid component of blood, is replenished within 24 hours. Platelet and white blood cell counts return to normal in a few days to a week. But red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, take four to six weeks to reach pre-donation levels.

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