Blood Donation Guidelines

  • Age: 17 years of age and in good health. There is no upper age limit.
  • Weight: Minimum of 110 lb.
  • Identification: Picture ID required at time of donation.
  • Medications: Must have completed antibiotics three 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 six 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 six 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 12 months 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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