Blood Donation Guidelines

  • Age: 17 years of age and in good health. 16 years of age with parental consent form. There is no upper age limit.
  • Weight: Minimum of 110 lb.
  • ID: Picture ID required at time of donation.
  • Medications: Must have completed antibiotics 3 days prior to giving blood. OK to donate if taking aspirin, antihistamines, birth control pills, most blood pressure medications and vitamins.
  • Eating: We suggest you eat a meal before your blood donation.
  • Drinking: Drink plenty of water or juice several hours before AND after your donation.
  • Strenuous Activity: Should be avoided for 12 - 24 hours after donating blood. Individuals with a hazardous or strenuous job should donate at the end of their work shift.
  • Diabetes: OK to donate if controlled by diet or oral medication. If Insulin dependent, must be stable.
  • Asthma: Acceptable if asymptomatic and on normal medications (including bronchodilators) for management. Symptomatic asthma, or requiring oral steroids for management is not acceptable.
  • Epilepsy: More than one seizure in the past 6 months, or multiple seizures are not acceptable to donate blood. If controlled with medication, and there has been no more than one seizure in the past 6 months, ok to donate.
  • Cancer: Cured local skin cancer (simple basal cell or squamous cell), as well as Cervical cancer in situ is acceptable. Most other forms of cancer are acceptable 5 years after being treated and released by your primary physician.
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse: Ok to donate if asymptomatic, no arrhythmias, and no limitations of activities.

Temporary Deferral

  • Colds and Flu: Must be in good health and feeling well on the day of donation.
  • Dental Work: OK to donate 72 hours after a minor surgical procedure, 24 hours after a cleaning.
  • Allergy Shots: OK to donate.
  • Other Shots: No shots for measles or mumps in the last 2 weeks; rubella in the last 4 weeks; HPV in the past 72 hours.
  • Small Pox: OK to donate 3 weeks after vaccination or contact with someone who has, and no complications.
  • Needle Sticks: None in the past year.
  • Pregnancy: OK to donate 6 weeks after routine delivery, C-section or termination. It is ok to donate while breastfeeding.
  • Acupuncture: OK to donate after 2 weeks and only if performed with sterile, disposable, single-use needles, in a doctor's office.
  • Blood Donation: You may donate whole blood every 56 days.
  • Tattoo / Skin Branding / Permanent Make-up applied: None in the past year.
  • Ear and Body Piercing: Acceptable after 2 weeks and only if sterile, single use needle or equipment was used. 12 month deferral if any other method was used.
  • Blood Transfusions: None in the past year, including your own (autologous).
  • Malaria: Those who have lived in an endemic area for one year or more must have left the endemic area at least 3 years to qualify as a blood donor. Travel to a malaria zone is a 12 month deferral from date of departure from the endemic area.
  • Medications: Acutane, Proscar and Propecia - OK to donate 30 days after last dosage. Avodart - OK to donate 6 months after last dose.

Permanent Deferral

  • HIV infection with or without symptoms of AIDS
  • Men who have had sex with another man (even once) since 1977
  • Any lymphoma, leukemia, or melanoma
  • Medication: Tegison, heart-regulating medications, current or on-going anti-coagulant therapy (i.e. Coumadin, etc.), long-term steroid therapy, Bovine (beef) insulin
  • Travel to or residing in the UK for 3 months or more between 1980 - 1996.
  • Travel to or residing in Europe for 5 years or more between 1980 and the present.
  • Autoimmune Disorders, including: Crohn's disease, Lupus, MS, Rheumatoid arthritis.

Give the gift of life! To find a blood drive near you, or set up an appointment, please call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
To host a blood drive, please visit the Red Cross website and complete the online contact form. 

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