It takes about an hour—from the time you arrive to the time you leave—to complete a whole blood donation. The actual donation time is only about 10 minutes.

Five Reasons to Donate Blood this Holiday Season

Author: Public Health Department
Date: 12/5/2018 4:05 PM

Blood donations are vital to our community's health, at the holidays and throughout the year.

Across San Luis Obispo County, hospitals and patients depend on blood donated from community members like you. Hospitals receive blood from Vitalant, formerly United Blood Services, and give it to patients every day—not only for emergencies but also as part of cancer therapy, surgery, and treatment for burns or blood disorders.

Each year during the holiday season, Vitalant experiences a “perfect storm” when the blood supply declines but need increases. For that reason, it’s an especially important and impactful time to give blood. Five reasons why your donation is especially needed right now: 

  • It’s cold and flu season. Blood donors are unable to donate when they get sick, leaving a gap in regular donations. Donations from healthy donors are needed to help make up for those regular donors who are under the weather.
  • It’s a busy time. So many of us are busy with travel and holiday plans that regular blood donations get put on the back burner. The blood supply is especially reliant on new donors and those who donate only a couple of times a year to help see it through the holiday slump.
  • It’s raining more. Weather is generally gorgeous here on the central coast—but when it rains, fewer donors tends to come through the door.
  • Cal Poly and Cuesta take a break. When SLO County’s population decreases rapidly, so does the blood supply. Colleges have traditionally been a reliable source for volunteer blood donors, and their absence is truly felt.
  • The need goes up. Increased traffic, inclement weather and the holiday rush can trigger more trauma situations where the need for blood transfusions increases. The blood supply must always be at ample levels to meet this need.

Whole blood donations are the most common type and can be given at any blood drive and at Vitalant’s San Luis Obispo Donation Center. Donors should allow one hour to complete the entire process, but the actual donation takes roughly 10 minutes. If donors can take a little extra time, other donation opportunities are also available and equally vital. For example, platelet, plasma and double red cell donations are most needed depending on a donor’s blood type. Whether your blood type is common or rare, it has the potential to save lives.

Potential donors can search for a convenient blood drive at or stop by Vitalant’s donor center in San Luis Obispo at 4119 Broad Street, Suite 100. Walk-ins are welcome but hours vary, so appointments are strongly suggested.

Vitalent is a partner in the San Luis Obispo County Disaster Healthcare Coalition convened by the Public Health Department.