Can I donate blood?
You will probably meet the medical requirements to donate blood if you are:
- In good health
- At least 17 years old (In some states, 16-year-olds may donate. There is no upper age limit.)
- Weigh at least 110 pounds
- Anemia (low hematocrit)
- Blood Pressure (high or low)
- Body Piercing
- Chagas Disease
- Cold or Flu
- International Travel
- Organ/Tissue Transplants
- Sexually Transmitted Disease
I'm taking medications. Can I still donate blood?
Many medications are acceptable. Consult your physician or ask your community blood center medical staff if you have questions about your eligibility to donate.
What if I have a tattoo or body piercing?
Each state has differnent policies surrounding tattooes and body piercing in regards to blood donation. Please check with your local blood center for their guidelines.
Will travel abroad make me ineligible to donate blood?
Travel to certain countries may prevent you from donating blood. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict policies in place to prevent the theoretical risk of spreading mad cow disease in the blood supply. Check with your blood center if you have questions about these common travel-related deferrals:
|Central and South America, Africa||High concentrations of certain diseases including malaria.||One year|
(Total three months or more, 1980-1996)
|The FDA seeks to prevent transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD) or any strain of the disease (vCJD) through the blood supply. Read about new donor restrictions.
CJD and vCJD are caused by eating beef contaminated with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad cow disease. There have been no known cases of vCJD being transmitted through blood. This ban is effective May 2002.
|Rest of Europe
(Total five years or more between 1980-present)
|Same as above. Effective May 2002.||Indefinite|
Will recent vaccinations make me ineligible to donate blood?
Recent vaccinations (live vaccines) may prevent you from donating blood. You may be deferred for up to one month if you have recently received measles, mumps or rubella vaccinations. If that is the case, contact your blood center and schedule an appointment for next month. The flu vaccine contains dead viruses and is not cause for deferral.
How do the FDA policies affect the blood supply?
America's Blood Centers' members have lost thousands of loyal potential donors due to deferrals put in place by the FDA. You can help make up for these losses. Donate blood several times a year if you are eligible. If you are deferred, ask an eligible friend to donate.
Not sure if you qualify? Contact your local blood center.