American Red Cross

Northern Ohio
Blood Services
Blood Donation Eligibility Guidelines


To give blood, you must be healthy, be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 56 days.

There is no upper age limit as long as you are well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities. Other aspects of each potential donor's health history are discussed as part of the donation process before any blood is collected. Each donor receives a brief examination during which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and blood count (hemoglobin or hematocrit) are measured.


(This list is not complete. Details of each donor's health and activities are discussed prior to blood donation.)

Allergy, Stuffy Nose, Itchy Eyes, Dry Cough

Accept as long as person feels well, no fever, and no problems breathing through mouth


See 'hemoglobin'.


Wait 2 days after taking antibiotics for an infection.
Accept persons taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, for example, following dental procedures or for acne.
Those with a temperature above 99F may not donate until the fever is passed.


Accept if no difficult breathing at the time of donation.

Blood Pressure, High

Accept as long as blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify someone from donating.

Blood Transfusion

Wait for 12 months after receiving a blood transfusion in the United States.
Person may not donate if transfused since 1980 in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man), Gibraltar or Falkland Islands.


Accept if the cancer was treated with only surgery or radiation, and it has been at least 5 years since treatment was completed with no cancer recurrence.
Those whose cancers were treated with chemotherapy or immunotherapy, or who had leukemia or lymphoma, are not eligible to donate.
Some low-risk cancers including squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin do not require a 5 year waiting period.

Cholesterol, high

Accept persons with high cholesterol, with or without medications, and those on medications to lower their cholesterol level.

Cold, Flu, Sore Throat

Wait if you have a fever or a productive cough.
Wait if you feel unwell on the day of donation.
Wait 2 days after you have completed antibiotic treatment for sinus, throat or lung infection.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

Those who ever received a corneal (eye) transplant, a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone are not eligible to donate.
Those who have a close blood relative who had Creutzfeld-Jacob disease or who is in a family that has been told they have a genetic risk for Creutzfeld-Jacob disease are not eligible to donate.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD)

See under Travel.

Dental Procedures

Accept after teeth cleaning, scaling, root canal, fillings and tooth extractions if no infection is present.
Wait for 3 days after oral surgery, or after treatment for an abscess or infection in the mouth.


Accept two weeks after starting or changing the dosage of insulin.
Those who since 1980, received an injection of bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom are not eligible to donate.

Donation Intervals

Wait at least 8 weeks between whole blood (standard) donations.
Wait at least 3 days between plateletpheresis donations.


Accept if the person has been seizure-free for the last 3 months.
Medications for seizures do not disqualify someone as a blood donor.

HIV (the AIDS virus)

Do not give blood to get an AIDS test. Please go to your own doctor or the local health department if you want to get tested. If you have any reason to believe you may carry HIV, do not donate blood. You could seriously harm a patient.
Those who are at increased risk for becoming infected with HIV are not eligible to donate blood.
  • According to the Food and Drug Administration, you are at increased risk if: you are a male who has had sex with another male since 1977, even once;
  • You have ever used a needle, even once, to take drugs or steroids that were not prescribed by a physician;
  • You have ever used a needle, even once, to take drugs or steroids that were not prescribed by a physician;
  • you have ever used a needle, even once, to take drugs or steroids that were not prescribed by a physician;
  • you have ever used a needle, even once, to take drugs or steroids that were not prescribed by a physician;
  • you have taken clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia;
  • you were born in or lived in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria since 1977
  • you have taken drugs or money in exchange for sex since 1977;
  • you have ever had a positive test for HIV virus;
  • you have symptoms of HIV infection including unexplained weight loss, night sweats, blue or purple spots on or under the skin, long-lasting white spots or unusual sores in your mouth, lumps in your neck, armpits, or groin that last more than a month, fever higher than 99 degrees that lasts more than 10 days, diarrhea lasting over a month, or persistent cough and shortness of breath;
  • Wait for 12 months after close contact with someone at increased risk for HIV infection such as paying or being paid to have sex, rape, sex with an IV drug user, or a needlestick exposure to someone else's blood.

Heart Disease

Accept persons with heart disease as long as they have no restrictions on their physical activities, take no medications for heart disease other than aspirin, and have no heart-related symptoms such as chest pain.
Accept persons with angina as long as they have no symptoms on the day of donation, have no restrictions on their activity and take no medications for heart disease other than aspirin. Wait at least 6 months following a heart attack.
Wait at least 6 months after bypass surgery or angioplasty
Accept persons with pacemakers as long as their pulse is between 50 and 100 per minute with a small number of irregular beats.

Heart murmur, heart valve disorder

Accept those with heart murmurs as long as they have no symptoms on the day of donation, no restrictions on their physical activity and are not taking any medications for heart disease other than antibiotics to prevent infections.

Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Blood Count

Each donor's hemoglobin is measured at the blood collection site before donation is allowed. The level required for blood donation is set by the Food and Drug Administration for all blood collections in the United States. It is common for donors, especially women, to have hemoglobin levels too low to donate. This is sometimes due to iron deficiency, but may also be normal for the person. If you are disqualified as a donor because of a low blood count, you may return and try again at any time.
Accept those with a hemoglobin at or above 12.5 g/dL.
Accept those with a hematocrit at or above 38%.

Hepatitis or Jaundice

Persons who have had hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) caused by a virus or unexplained jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin)since age 11 are not eligible to donate blood. Accept persons who had jaundice or hepatitis due to something other than a viral infection such as medications, Gilbert's disease, bile duct obstruction, alcohol, gallstones or trauma to the liver.
Persons who have tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C are not eligible to donate, even if they were never sick or jaundiced from the condition.

Hepatitis Exposure

Wait 12 months after close contact with someone who has hepatitis. (Close contact is defined as sexual contact or sharing the same household, kitchen, dormitory, or toilet facilities).
Wait 12 months after detention in a correctional institution or residence in a long-term psychiatric institution.
Wait 12 months after receiving a blood transfusion, blood injections, tattoo, non-sterile needle stick/body piercing or blood exposure to non-intact skin or a mucous membrane.
Wait 12 months following human bite if it broke the skin.
Wait 12 months after using intranasal cocaine or any other street drug.


Accept those who were recently vaccinated for influenza or tetanus, providing donor is symptom-free and fever-free.
Wait 4 weeks after immunizations for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Chicken Pox (Varivax).
Wait 2 weeks after immunizations for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Polio with the oral (mouth) preparation, Small Pox and Yellow Fever vaccine.
Wait 7 days after immunization for Hepatitis B.

Infectious Mononucleosis

Accept those with infectious mononucleosis ("mono") once the infections has passed, as long as the person did not have hepatitis.

Intravenous Drug Use

Those who have ever used IV drugs that were not prescribed by a physician are not eligible to donate.

Lyme Disease

Accept persons with Lyme disease if they were treated, the disease resolved and at least 1 year has passed.
Those with chronic Lyme disease are not eligible to donate blood.


Wait for 3 years after completing treatment for malaria.


In almost all cases, medications do not disqualify a person as a blood donor. The person's eligibility is based on the reason that the medication was prescribed. As long as the condition is under control and the person is healthy, blood donation is usually permitted. There are just a few selected drugs that are potentially toxic if given to a patient through transfusion; persons on these medications have waiting periods before donating:
Wait 3 years from the last dose of Soriatane (acitretin).
Wait 4 weeks after taking Accutane (isoretinoin) Proscar (finasteride),Propecia (finasteride), methotrexate
Persons who have ever taken Tegison (etretinate) are not eligible to donate blood.
Wait 3 months after taking Arava (leflunomide).
Wait 5 days after taking coumadin.
Wait 36 hours after taking aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel) or Ticlid (ticlopidine)if you are going to donate plateletpheresis.

Organ/Tissue Transplants

Wait 12 months after receiving an organ or tissue transplant from another person. This includes bone and dental powder.

Piercing (ears, body), Accupuncture

Accept as long as the piercing instruments were sterile.
Wait 12 months if there is any question whether or not the piercing instruments were sterile and free of blood contamination.


Persons who are pregnant are not eligible to donate.
Wait 6 weeks after delivering, miscarrying or terminating a pregnancy.
Accept mothers who are nursing.

Serious Illness

Those who have had infections with Chagas Disease, babesiosis or leishmaniasis are not eligible to donate blood.
Those with systemic lupus erythematosis, multiple sclerosis or systemic scleroderma are not eligible to donate blood.

Sickle Cell

Accept persons with sickle cell trait. Those with sickle cell disease are not eligible to donate.

Skin Disease and Rash

Accept persons with skin diseases as long as the skin over the vein to be used to collect blood is not affected.


Accept those who have had surgery recently as long as the wound is healed, stitches are dissolved or removed and the underlying condition is acceptable in a blood donor.
Wait 48 hours after having stitches or staples for lacerations.


Wait 12 months after being treated for syphilis, gonorrhea or other venereal diseases.


Wait 12 months after a tattoo.

Travel Outside of U.S.

Wait 12 months after travel into areas with a risk of malaria.
Wait 3 years after immigrating from a country with malaria.
Persons who have spent long periods of time in countries where mad cow disease is found are not eligible to donate. You may not donate if you have stayed more than 3 months total in countries on list 1, or more than 6 months total in countries on list 1 or 2, since 1980.

List 1: England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Northern
            Ireland, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar

List 2: All of the countries in Europe, Oman, Turkey

Please e-mail us with any questions or comments
The information on this website is for general informational use only.
For specific questions regarding medical or paternity issues, please contact your physician.

© Copyright 2003, The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.