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Red blood cells travel through your body delivering oxygen. Units of red blood cells are often used in Emergency and Operating Rooms when treating accident victims and during surgeries. Red blood cells are also necessary when treating patients with anemia.
People with Type O blood are especially in demand with O+ able to donate red blood cells to anyone who has an RH factor + and O- able to donate to anyone with either RH + or –. These donors are referred to as universal donors.
If you are Type O, you can make the most of your donation by donating whole blood or double red cells. A double red cell donation is made through apheresis where red blood cells are removed and fluids are returned to the donor. It takes only a few minutes more than whole blood donations.
Whole blood donors are eligible to give blood every eight weeks. Double red cell donors are eligible every 16 weeks. Donors age 17 and 18 may donate every 6 months.