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Parts of Your Blood

There is more to blood than meets the eye. This valuable resource runs through our veins and provides us with essentials to keep our bodies working and moving forward. It is important for us to receive blood donations to help the local blood supply, but it is also important for you to know which parts of your blood help others.

When it comes to blood, it is often the parts of the whole that are more valuable to people than the whole product itself. Blood has many different functions in the body and each part of the blood plays a different role. Although whole blood donations are the most common, blood transfusion usually involves giving only part of the blood. If whole blood is given in a transfusion, the unit must be of the same blood type (A, B, or O) as the recipient’s.

Red Cells

The main function of red blood cells is the delivery of oxygen to tissues and removing carbon dioxide. Red blood cells transport dissolved gases, waste products of metabolism, hormones, enzymes, nutrients, plasma proteins and blood cells. Red blood cells work to maintain the body temperature and control the pH of the blood to prevent damage to cells. Red blood cells transport waste products to the kidneys or liver so they can be excreted from the body. Red blood cells make up approximately 45% of the volume of blood. Transfusions of red blood cells are required when there are signs of decreased oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood.


Plasma is a fluid in the blood made up of approximately 92% water that works as a medium to transport blood cells, antibodies, clotting proteins, hormones and nutrients through the body. Plasma helps the body maintain the optimum body temperature and serves as the medium through which the blood flows in the blood vessels. Plasma helps the body maintain the ideal balance of electrolytes in the blood and tissues, and works to control the pH of the blood and tissues at a range where they can thrive. Plasma is used to treat bleeding or clotting disorders and other blood deficiencies. Plasma accounts for more than half of the volume of the blood.


Platelets are produced by bone marrow, circulate in the blood stream, and help prevent bleeding in all patients. Platelets bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels to form a clot and stop the bleeding. Platelet transfusions are generally given for patients with a platelet count below 150,000 platelets uL of blood. These cells make up a very small percentage of the blood; and after donation, they must be stored at room temperature with a shelf-life of only five days.


Have a Happy (Healthier) Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again when we prepare for a day that revolves around family, football and, of course, food! Thanksgiving is one of the most popular American holidays, and at Carter BloodCare, we look forward the whole year to stuffing our faces with turkey, cranberry sauce and potatoes. As one of the most anticipated meals of the holidays, Thanksgiving dinner can also be one of the most caloric, unless you know a few hacks to make your favorite feast a little bit better for you.

Traditionally, this holiday meal is served with mashed potatoes, stuffing and delicious buttery rolls. While all of these dishes are everyone’s favorites, they add up to a lot of starches and carbohydrates that can really tighten your pants. To avoid the carb overload, focus on portion control to make sure you keep enough room for vegetables and, of course, turkey.

Portion control can be one of the most important parts of cutting out calories on Thanksgiving. Focus on filling your plate with foods you don’t eat all year round, and fill in the empty space with plenty of healthy vegetable sides. Try to limit yourself to only one serving. Think of it this way, the less you eat today the more you have for leftovers.

When working in the kitchen, there are easy ways to take some of the ‘bad’ stuff out of your favorite foods without sacrificing the flavor. Mashed potatoes are a staple on the Thanksgiving table that packs a lot of flavor, and often a lot of calories. Take out some of the fats and calories by eliminating butter and substituting in fat-free milk. Don’t pack your stuffing with oils or butter, and instead, use fat-free broth to make it the right texture.

Because it is often fried or cooked with lots of butter, turkey is one of the biggest culprits of the holiday belly bulge. As the centerpiece of the meal, turkey needs a lot of time and focus to make sure it is cooked perfectly. Despite what you might hear on cooking shows, you don’t need butter to make your turkey melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Try replacing butter with low-fat chicken or vegetable broth, and add extra flavor with fresh herbs like garlic and rosemary.

The best way to make Thanksgiving a healthy hit is to look at what ingredients you can replace with a healthier alternative. Look for low-fat and low-sugar options for your favorite ingredients. It’s easy to find healthy replacements for most ingredients as well. For instance, if a recipe calls for sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt for the same texture and taste. If a healthy and happy Thanksgiving is your goal, it is always easy to find ways to make it delicious!

What It Takes for a Blood Drive (Infographic)


Giving Blood

What To Do After You Donate

Donors are the lifeblood of our organization, and it is important to us to make sure each donor maintains the best possible health after donating. Giving a pint of whole blood can save the lives of up to three people, but after giving that much, it is important to treat your body right. After donating, it is important to take it easy and work on replenishing the nutrients your body has lost.

It’s no secret that before donating blood, you need to prepare your body. It is important to eat iron-rich foods such as red meats, fish, beans and spinach, drink plenty of water the two days prior to donating, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy meal two hours before your donation. These tips help pump up the nutrients in your body so your blood has enough hemoglobin to donate and ensure you are ready to make donating a safe and pleasant experience.


After donating, it is important to rest in the canteen area for at least ten minutes, or until you feel up to your usual self. Pay attention to all instructions given by your blood collector immediately after donation. This includes keeping your bandage on for at least four hours. You will feel a little dizzy after donating, and for this reason it is important to not do any strenuous activity for up to 24 hours and avoid drinking any alcohol for the next 24 hours as well.


Your donated blood provides people in need with a valuable resource, and after you give them what their body needs, it is time to give your body what you need. After donating, your blood pressure may drop. To avoid a drop in blood pressure and replenish lost fluids, drink plenty of liquids such as water and sports drinks. Water and sports drinks are available in the canteen area after donation to help you stay healthy and hydrated.

Folate, also known as B-9 or folic acid, is used to help create new red blood cells in the body, so it is important to eat foods rich in folic acid. These foods include asparagus, leafy greens like kale, liver and orange juice. Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, is also used in the production of red blood cells. To restock this nutrient, eat dairy products like milk or yogurt. Another red blood cell builder, Vitamin B-6 can be found in foods like potatoes and bananas.

Iron is an essential nutrient in the blood that helps with the transport of oxygen to tissues, and needs to be replenished to avoid iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods are easy to find and, if paired with Vitamin C-rich foods, can help increase absorption from plant iron sources. Meats, fish, nuts and peanuts are common protein-packed foods rich in iron. In addition, foods such as raisins, beans, whole grains, rice flakes and watermelon can help restore your body’s iron to keep you healthy.

Giving Blood

How to Find A Mobile Drive

We know how important it is to find ways to give blood that fit into your schedule and make it easy for you to make an impact on the blood supply. Our donor centers offer consistent places to give on schedule, but unfortunately we have a limited number of donor center locations, in comparison to all of the generous donors in North, Central and East Texas.

If giving at a donor center is not convenient for you, we have 30 to 35 mobile blood drives a day to bring blood donation opportunities closer to you. To make this happen, we rely on organizations, businesses, places of worship and community groups, to host mobile blood drives all over North, Central and East Texas so we can reach more heroes willing to reach out their arms to save lives in the Carter BloodCare service area.

How To Find A Mobile Drive in Your Area

So how do you find out when blood drives will be in your area? If the mobile drive is open to the public, we post the information on our website so our donors can more easily find the closest place to give in the community. When you visit the Carter BloodCare website, click on the “Donate Blood” tab on the home page. On this page, you can choose the link “Donor Centers” to schedule an appointment at one of our 26 donor centers or locate an upcoming blood drive by clicking on “Community Blood Drives.” These drives are great opportunities for everyone to be a part of the Carter BloodCare mission.

Once you are on the Community Blood Drives page, you can narrow down the location search by city, county and even zip code, so you can make sure it is convenient for you to give blood. Once you find your community, set the dates you would like to find mobile drives near you. From there, all you need to do is select which drive (or drives) you want to go to and schedule a time to donate.

If you want to see other places Carter BloodCare will be in the community, you can go to “Community Events” from the Donate Blood page. From here, you will see fun community events we will be a part of and find ways to win prizes and experiences from Carter BloodCare! If you know of any upcoming events, let us know about them so we can be a part of the fun in your community.

Our mobile drives help us reach donors who do not live near any of our donor centers. It is our goal to meet the needs of the community, and that means we need to make it easier for all of our donors. Head to our site to find upcoming mobile drives near you, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to see the community blood drives we will be hosting. If you want to host a mobile drive, email to set up a drive for your community to donate.

Events & News

Make Your Carter Blood Drive Stand Out

Each Carter BloodCare Blood Drive helps us provide for the local blood supply and gives hope to patients in need in our community. Blood Drives are a great opportunity to show people how easy it is to give, and it is up to you to find ways to get more people to roll up their sleeves. By now, you already know the guidelines for hosting a Carter BloodCare blood drive (, but now it is time to learn how to make your blood drive unique and fun for all volunteers and donors.

Get their attention

The first step in making your blood drive stand out is getting the word out to potential donors. We will provide you with materials to help inform everyone of your upcoming drive, but don’t feel limited by that. Feel free to put up your own signs, decorate and find your own unique way to spread the word. Let your potential donors know when and where your drive takes place, what they will need to participate and how easy (and quick) it is to roll up your sleeves! Talk to your Carter BloodCare recruiter that is assigned to your drive, about fun ideas to get people excited for your blood drive.

How about a theme?

Feel free to theme your Carter BloodCare blood drive. A fun, united theme can bring attention to your drive and give your donors and volunteers a chance to have fun while doing something good for the community. From pirates to vampires, there’s no limit to what theme you can add to your drive to give everyone a chance to have more fun.

Everyone loves free stuff

We provide drinks and snacks for donors after they give, but it doesn’t mean you can’t give them a little more incentive. At your drive, feel free to offer your own snacks or other fun treats to give potential donors more reason to participate. Raffles, prizes, gifts and other goodies can help ensure a big turnout at your blood drive.


Technology makes it easier to spread the word about your blood drive to your community. Feel free to develop a hashtag for your volunteers, donors and more to spread the word and show off their excitement for your blood drive. At the drive, encourage everyone to use your hashtag and tag @CarterBloodCare to show off how much fun they are having at your blood drive.

The more fun donors have at their first Carter BloodCare donation experience, the more likely they are to sign up and donate again. There are a lot of ways to make your blood drive stand out. Use your creativity to think of ways you can make your blood drive unique. The more fun you have planning and putting on your Carter BloodCare blood drive, the more fun everyone who shows up is going to have!

About Life, Health

Heart Healthy Exercise

It’s no secret that regular exercise is important to keep your body healthy and your heart pumping strong. Adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses and enrich your life to make you stronger and more flexible. Exercise is good for your whole body, but we’re here to tell you about the kinds of activity that directly benefit the strength and health of your heart.

Before you start any new physical fitness regimen, consult your doctor about receiving a comprehensive health assessment. Ryan Karnes, Fitness Supervisor at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB Hospital Fitness Center, suggests getting a comprehensive body assessment as well as a cardio assessment to help you set fitness goals to help your heart beat strong. “At the Harris HEB Hospital Fitness Center, we do a basic assessment to gauge body fat percentage, body measurements and blood pressure before beginning a new program,” says Karnes. “We perform a cardio walk test and measure blood pressure during workout to measure each person’s health.” Karnes says it is important for everyone to get base line measurements at the start of a new fitness regimen, so it is easier to measure your results and assess your goals.

Once you have gotten an assessment from a health professional, you can begin implementing exercises that improve your health. “The type of exercises you need to do depend on your fitness level,” says Karnes, “I prefer interval training, which focuses on getting your heart rate up and then lowering it. This helps build cardiovascular fitness.” Interval training can be practiced with any type of exercise.

There are three basic types of exercise to help improve your heart’s health: aerobic or cardio training, stretching and weight training. Aerobic exercises ideal for heart health include walking, running, swimming and cycling. These exercises aim to raise your heart rate through fast movements, causing you to breathe harder and get your blood flowing through the body. Stretching improves flexibility, relaxes your body, and lets you focus your breathing to improve heart health. Exercises such as yoga help build flexibility and are great to stretch out muscles. Weight training is primarily used to lower bad cholesterol, according to Karnes. Using free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight, is a great way to build strength and work your body towards lower cholesterol.

Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least three to four times a week is all it takes to improve your heart’s health. Like any muscle, your heart gets stronger and healthier the more active you are. Regular activity will decrease your risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, boost good cholesterol and improve the overall health of your body.

Events & News, Giving Blood,

Ebola Blood Safety

It is our mission at Carter BloodCare to keep the community safe and informed. With the recent cases of the Ebola virus in Dallas, we feel compelled to let our donors, volunteers and community understand the situation. We have worked to answer any questions you may have regarding the virus.

  •  It is absolutely safe to donate blood. Donors are not at risk of contracting the Ebola virus through the donation process.
  • Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of infected persons who are severely ill. Ebola is not spread by healthy people or people without symptoms.
  • Individuals with Ebola are only infectious when they are displaying symptoms.
  • Transmission of the Ebola virus by blood transfusion has never been seen.
  • All donors are asked if they are feeling well and healthy at the time of donation. Any who answer “no” are deferred from donating that day.
  • In the blood donation mini-physical, we screen donors’ temperature. Anyone with a temperature over 99.5F may not donate blood.
  • Blood donors who may have traveled to the areas of Africa that are affected by Ebola, are already deferred from donating blood for at least one year due to their potential exposure to malaria in all of the affected West African countries.
  • As of October 10, 2014, if public health authorities have told you that you may have been exposed to a patient with Ebola virus disease, you may not donate blood for 28 days following your last contact with the infected person.
  • Carter BloodCare staff has not treated patients currently infected with Ebola. They have not had direct contact with any currently infected Ebola patients or Ebola-containing blood or other body fluids.
  • The FDA regulates the blood donation process in the United States. They would notify blood centers if any changes needed to be made regarding the current criteria for donor qualification.
  • If we are notified by the FDA to make any changes, we will adopt them promptly.

There is no proven treatment available for the Ebola virus; however, the use of blood plasma, collected from people who have recovered from the disease, may be an effective treatment.

  • Blood plasma in previously infected and now recovered people contains antibodies that may be successful in fighting off the disease. These antibodies, when transfused into a currently infected patient, may help fight the virus in that patient.
  • The safety and efficacy of treating Ebola patients with the blood plasma from a previously infected person are unproven but have been effective in treating other infections.

Carter BloodCare has a responsibility to save lives in the community through blood donations. Donating blood is a safe process, and people should not be deterred from giving or receiving blood.

Additional Resource:
Self Deferral Notice – Ebola

Donate to Meet the Needs

Every day, Carter BloodCare needs 1,100 donors to roll up their sleeves and give blood. This number helps us meet the daily requirements of local hospitals and medical centers, as well as keep the local blood supply prepared to meet any unexpected needs that arise. It is important for donors to understand why their donations are significant, based on the blood supply and which blood types are in demand.


All blood types are needed. The most important blood type is the one that is available when a patient requires that type. When an emergency happens and a patient is bleeding, doctors often request O- blood before there is time to obtain typing on the patient. Individuals with type O- are a small percentage of the population, yet their type is frequently needed. However, for all the times when doctors do know a patient’s blood type, blood donors of all blood types will be required to help those with compatible blood types.The first step in knowing the demands of the blood supply is to understand which blood types are most common, and which blood types can be given to others. The eight most common blood types are O+, A+, B+, AB+, O-, A-, B-, and AB-. These blood types are determined by the presence of two antigens, A and B, which live on the surface of red blood cells. The presence (or absence) of these antigens helps determine the individual’s blood type and to which other types the individual’s blood can be given; also from which other bloods types the individual can receive.

If you are hoping to give blood when the need for your type is greatest, the best way is to call for an appointment (1-800-366-2834). By calling in advance, our staff can let you know what blood types are most immediately needed. This helps determine whether your appointment is ideal right now or next week. You can also request that our team inform you when your blood type is in need, and when you are eligible to donate again.

Each donation received at Carter BloodCare provides a necessary resource for the patient whose life is helped. Just remember, there is always someone with your blood type in our community. One in seven hospital patients will require a transfusion. All you need to do is roll up your sleeves and schedule an appointment to donate blood today. Visit to find a location near you.

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Scream!

Calling all ghouls, goblins and monsters! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and give blood this month for the chance to get your wits scared out of you at one of the scariest haunts in all of North Texas. This month, Carter BloodCare is teaming up with Dark Hour Haunted House of Plano to give donors the chance to enjoy the best of the Halloween holiday.

Dark Hour Haunted House opened in October 2013, and has provided a year-round haunt for thrill seekers. Dark Hour features three distinct sections, each providing their own unique spooky theme. For those who like to dabble in dark magic, “Voodoo Vengeance” is full of white zombies, mystical relics and tortured effigies trying to unleash their horrible magic on the world. Wander through the graveyard in “Dominion of the Dead” and see if you are scared by all the haunted souls. Both of these terrifying haunts are located at “Coven Manor,” home of 13 powerful witches, all fighting to become the leader. Each year a new witch takes the throne and comes up with her own cruel and unique ways to scare all guests who dare to enter.

Dark Hour Haunted House stands out for its use of authentic decorations and state-of-the-art technology, including motion sensors to provide scares and surprises for guests at just the right time. Dark Hour utilizes theatrical lighting systems, professional actors and surround sound to make every haunt more real and believable for guests. Additionally, each month they create a new theme to showcase the scariest and spookiest of each season.

Carter BloodCare is always happy to find fun, unique ways to thank our donors for their generosity. That’s why during October, each Carter BloodCare donor can enter to win a four-pack of passes to Dark Hour Haunted House. All you have to do is conquer your fear of vampires and donate blood with Carter BloodCare. Following your donation, log-in to your Great Partners Rewards page or call 877.869.4141. Redeem just 50 points per to get your name in the drawing; and you can enter as many times as you want, to be able to win your chance to scream at all the Dark Hour haunts. Did you donate last month or another time? Do you have at least 50 points remaining in your Great Rewards account? Then you, too, can be eligible for the four-pack of passes by redeeming just 50 points toward the chance to win. Winners will be contacted by a Carter BloodCare representative once they are selected and given instructions on how to redeem the prize.

So whether you’re a vampire looking to help the blood supply or a witch trying to cook up a brew of fun, now is your chance to make the best of this Halloween season. Get ready to have a scary fun Halloween this year when you roll up your sleeves and donate with Carter BloodCare and Dark Hour Haunted House (we just recommend not going through the haunted house after donating).