BLOOD DONATION ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES
To give blood for transfusion to another person, 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. "Healthy" means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, "healthy" also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.
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.
Making donations for your own use during surgery (autologous blood donation) is considered a medical procedure and the rules for eligibility are less strict than for regular volunteer donations.
Donors who have undergone acupuncture treatments are acceptable as long as the donor can confirm that the needles used in the treatment were sterile. Donors who cannot confirm that sterile needles were used in the acupuncture treatment are deferred from donating for 12 months.
You must be at least 17 years old to donate to the general blood supply. Learn more about the reasons for a lower age limit. There is no upper age limit for blood donation as long as you are well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities.
Wait 2 days after finishing antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral). Acceptable if you are taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, for example, following dental procedures or for acne. Antibiotics for acne do not disqualify you from donating. If you have a temperature above 99.5 F, you may not donate until the fever is passed.
Blood Pressure, High
Acceptable as long as your 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 you from donating.
Blood Pressure, Low
Acceptable as long as you feel well when you come to donate. If your blood pressure normally runs low, it may be more difficult for your body to adjust to the volume loss following donation, especially if you are dehydrated. Drinking extra water before and after donation is important.
Wait for 12 months after receiving a blood transfusion from another person in the United States. You may not donate if you received a transfusion since 1980 in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man), Gibraltar or Falkland Islands. This requirement is related to concerns about variant CJD, or 'mad cow' disease. Learn more about variant CJD and blood donation.
Acceptable 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. If your cancer was treated with chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or immunotherapy, you are not eligible to donate. If you had leukemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkins Disease, you 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.
Precancerous conditions of the uterine cervix do not disqualify you from donation if the abnormality has been treated successfully.
You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.
Most chronic illnesses are acceptable as long as you feel well, the condition is under good control, you have an adequate hemoglobin level and your temperature is normal when you come to donate. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease do not automatically disqualify you from donating. You should discuss your condition with the health historian at the time of donation.
If your blood does not clot normally, you should not donate since you may have excessive bleeding where the needle was placed. For the same reason, if you are taking any "blood thinner" ( such as coumadin or heparin)you should not donate. If you are on aspirin, it is OK to donate blood. However, you must be off of aspirin for at least 36 hours in order donate platelets by apheresis.
Wait 12 months after using cocaine or other street drugs through your nose before attempting to donate blood. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis and HIV. Learn more about hepatitis and blood donation.
Cold, Flu, Sore Throat
Wait if you have a fever or a productive cough (bringing up phlegm)
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)
If you ever received a corneal (eye) transplant, a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you 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 also not eligible to donate. Learn more about CJD.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD);
"Mad Cow Disease"
See under Travel Outside of U.S. Learn more about vCJD and blood donation.
Acceptable after teeth cleaning, scaling, root canal, fillings and tooth extractions as long as there is no infection present.
Wait for 3 days after having other types of oral surgery, or after treatment for an abscess or infection in the mouth.
Wait 2 days after finishing antibiotics for a dental infection.
Acceptable two weeks after starting insulin.
Medications to lower your glucose level do not disqualify you from donating. Those who since 1980, received an injection of bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant CJD, or 'mad cow' disease. Learn more about variant CJD and blood donation.
Wait at least 8 weeks between whole blood (standard) donations.
Wait at least 3 days between plateletpheresis donations.
Wait at least 16 weeks between double red cell (automated) donations.
In general , acceptable as long as you have no restrictions on your physical activities, take no medications for heart disease other than aspirin, and have no current ( within the last 6 months) heart-related symptoms such as chest pain.
Wait at least 6 months following an episode of angina.
Wait at least 6 months following a heart attack.
Wait at least 6 months after bypass surgery or angioplasty.
If you have a pacemaker, you may donate as long as your pulse is between 50 and 100 beats per minute with no more than a small number of irregular beats, and you meet the other heart disease criteria. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.
Heart Murmur, Heart Valve Disorder
Acceptable if you have a heart murmur as long as you have not had symptoms in the last 6 months, have no restrictions on your physical activity and are not taking any medications for heart disease other than prophylactic antibiotics (to prevent infections) or aspirin.
American Red Cross does not accept individuals with hemochromatosis as blood donors for other persons at this time. Red Cross will continually re-evaluate this policy as more information accumulates.
If you had hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) caused by a virus, or unexplained jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin), since age 11, you are not eligible to donate blood. This includes those who had hepatitis with infectious mononucleosis.
Acceptable if you had jaundice or hepatitis caused by something other than a viral infection, for example: medications, Gilbert's disease, bile duct obstruction, alcohol, gallstones or trauma to the liver.
If you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C , at any age, you are not eligible to donate, even if you were never sick or jaundiced from the infection.
Wait 12 months after close contact with someone who is sick with viral 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 (unless it was your own “autologous” blood, blood injections, tattoo, non-sterile needle stick/body piercing or exposure to someone else's blood.
Wait 12 months following a human bite, if it broke the skin.
Wait 12 months after using cocaine or other street drugs through your nose.
Wait for 12 months after close contact with someone who is at an increased risk for HIV infection. This occurs when paying to have sex, as a result of rape, or when having sex with an IV drug user.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
See “Venereal Diseases”
Hypertension, High Blood Pressure
See “Blood Pressure, High
Wait 4 weeks after immunizations for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Chicken Pox.
Wait 2 weeks after immunizations for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Polio( by mouth), Small Pox and Yellow Fever vaccine.
Wait 7 days after immunization for Hepatitis B as long as you are not given the immunization for exposure to hepatitis B.
Wait 2 days after finishing antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral).
Infections with common herpes virus (cold sores or genital herpes) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are acceptable as long as you feel well and do not have a fever.
Those who have had infections with Chagas Disease, babesiosis or leishmaniasis are not eligible to donate blood.
Intravenous Drug Use
Those who have ever used IV drugs that were not prescribed by a physician are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis and HIV. Learn more about hepatitis and blood donation.
Wait 3 years after completing treatment for malaria. Wait 12 months after returning from a trip to an area where malaria is found. Wait 3 years after moving to the United States after living in a country where malaria is found. Learn more about malaria and blood donation.
Medications In almost all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. Your eligibility will be based on the reason that the medication was prescribed. As long as the condition is under control and you are healthy, blood donation is usually permitted.
There are a handful of drugs that are of special significance in blood donation. Persons on these drugs have waiting periods following their last dose before they can donate blood:
If you ever took Tegison (etretinate), you are not eligible to donate blood. If you ever took human pituitary-derived growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate blood. If you take aspirin, you can donate blood. However you must wait 36 hours after taking aspirin or any medication containing aspirin before donating platelets by apheresis. If you take Ticlid or Plavix, wait 36 hours after taking these medications before donating platelets by apheresis. If you are taking prescription blood thinners such as Coumadin or heparin, you should not donate since your blood will not clot normally. If your doctor discontinues your treatment with blood thinners, wait 5 days before returning to donate.
Wait 12 months after receiving an organ or tissue transplant from another person. This includes bone and dental powder. If you are taking medications to prevent rejection of the organ or tissue you are not eligible to donate.
If you ever received a corneal (eye) transplant or a dura mater (brain covering) transplant, you are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about the brain disease, Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD). Learn more about CJD and blood donation.
Wait 12 months if there is any question whether or not the instruments used were sterile and free of blood contamination. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis. Learn more about hepatitis and blood donation.
Skin Disease, Rash, Acne
Acceptable as long as the skin over the vein to be used to collect blood is not affected. If the skin disease has become infected, wait until the infection has cleared before donating. Taking antibiotics to control acne does not disqualify you from donating.
Acceptable once the wound is healed and stitches are dissolved or removed, as long as the underlying condition is also acceptable in a blood donor. Wait 2 days after having stitches or staples for lacerations. If a laceration has become infected, wait until the infection has cleared before donating. Wait 12 months if you had a blood transfusion from another person during surgery.
Wait 12 months after a tattoo. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis. Learn more about hepatitis and blood donation.
Acceptable if you have a positive skin test for tuberculosis, or if you are receiving antibiotics for a positive TB skin test only. If you are being treated for a tuberculosis infection, wait until treatment is successfully completed before donating.
Travel Outside of U.S., Immigration
Wait 12 months after travel in an area where malaria is found. Wait 3 years after moving to the United States after living in a country where malaria is found. Persons who have spent long periods of time in countries where "mad cow disease" is found are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant Creutzfeld Jacob Disease (vCJD). Learn more about vCJD and donation. Persons who were born in or who lived in certain countries in Western Africa, or who have had close contact with persons who were born in or who lived in certain West African countries are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about HIV Group O.
See also “Sexually Transmitted Disease”
Wait 12 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.
You must weigh at least 110 Lbs to be eligible for blood donation for your own safety. Blood volume is in proportion to body weight. Donors who weight less than 110Lbs may not tolerate the removal of the required volume of blood as well as those who weigh more than 110Lbs. There is no upper weight limit as long as your weight is not higher than the weight limit of the donor bed/lounge you are using. You can discuss any upper weight limitations of beds and lounges with your local health historian.
By: R.A.R.,MD and M.A.P., RN,BSN