Think You Can’t Donate Blood? Investigate and Be Sure!

“I was out of the country for a year…”

“My iron level is always too low…”

“I just got a tattoo…”

There are many reasons for why people think they can’t give blood. Don’t let an assumption stop you from making a big difference in the lives of others!

Most donation deferrals are temporary. The top two temporary deferrals are from: low iron count (number one) and cold or flu-like symptoms (number two). Simple diet changes and other pre-donation preparation will often remove these barriers to giving blood.

Some common misconceptions about blood donation deferrals include:

Medications – In almost all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as the condition is under control and you are healthy, blood donation is usually permitted.

Health concernsDiabetes, hypertension, asthma, allergies…There are many medical conditions that allow for blood donation, so long as certain criteria is met. Make sure you click on each link above for information on those conditions, or research a different health concern not listed through this link.

Age – 16 year olds can donate in 31 states with parent permission! There is no upper age limit for blood donation, as long as you are well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities.

Piercings and tattoos – Piercings don’t disqualify you as long as the instruments used were sterile or single-use equipment. Tattoos from state-regulated entities require no waiting period for donating blood.

World travel – Deferrals based on travel come from the risk of disease. Decisions about risk factors for disease are often made at the city level, rather than country level. The top three diseases that are investigated from travel locations are malaria, HIV and “mad cow disease.” Please call 1-866-236-3276 (a free 24-hour hotline) to inquire about any specific eligibility concerns.

Above all else, if you’ve had a bad donation experience once or have never tried to donate, consider these reasons to dedicate an hour of your time towards giving blood:

More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Right now, donors can make the difference between an adequate blood supply and a shortage. Call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit us online to give the gift of life today!