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BLOOD DONATION ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES

Note to users: This list is not complete. Medical professionals are available at each blood collection center and details of each donor's health and activities are discussed in a confidential setting prior to blood donation. The final determination of eligibility is made at that time. Some donor eligibility rules are specified by the Food and Drug Administration for every blood bank in the country. Other rules are determined by the particular blood bank and may differ between programs. Donor eligibility rules are intended to protect the health and safety of the donor as well as the patient who will receive the transfusion. The criteria listed below are provided as guidelines to assist you in determining whether you may be eligible to be a blood donor. The guidelines listed below were last revised on 3/21/05. There may have been some changes to these criteria since the last revision date. The most up to date eligibility information can be obtained by contacting the American Red Cross blood center nearest you.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

To give blood for transfusion to another person, you must be healthy, be at least 17 years old or 16 years old if allowed by state law, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 8 weeks (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.

Acupuncture

Herpes (see Sexually Transmitted Disease)

Age

HIV, AIDS

Allergy, Stuffy Nose, Itchy Eyes, Dry Cough

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRP)

Antibiotics

HPV (see Sexually Transmitted Disease)

Aspirin

Hypertension, High Blood Pressure

Asthma

Immunization, Vaccination

Birth Control

Infections

Bleeding Disorders

Insulin (bovine)

Blood Pressure, High

Intravenous Drug Use

Blood Pressure, Low

Malaria

Blood Transfusion

Medications

Cancer

Organ/Tissue Transplants

Chronic Illnesses

Piercing (ears, body), Electrolysis

Cold, Flu

Pregnancy, Nursing

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD);
"Mad Cow Disease"

Sickle Cell

Dental Procedures

Skin Disease, Rash, Acne

Donation Intervals

Syphilis/Gonorrhea

Heart Disease

Tattoo

Heart Murmur, Heart Valve Disorder

Tuberculosis

Hemochromatosis

Travel Outside of U.S., Immigration

Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Blood Count

Vaccinations

Hepatitis, Jaundice

Venereal Diseases

Hepatitis Exposure

Weight

Acupuncture

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.

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Age

You must be at least 17 years old to donate to the general blood supply, or 16 years old if allowed by state law. 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.

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Allergy, Stuffy Nose, Itchy Eyes, Dry Cough

Acceptable as long as you feel well, have no fever, and have no problems breathing through your mouth

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Antibiotics

A donor with an infection should not donate. The reason for antibiotic use must be evaluated to determine if the donor has a bacterial infection that could be transmissible by blood.

Acceptable 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 .

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Aspirin

See "Medications"

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Asthma

Acceptable as long as you are not having difficulty breathing at the time of donation and you otherwise feel well. Medications for asthma do not disqualify you from donating.

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Birth Control

Women taking birth control (pills or injections) are acceptable.

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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.

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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.

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Blood Transfusion

Wait for 12 months after receiving a blood transfusion from another person in the United States. You may not donate if you received a blood 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.

You may not donate if you received a blood transfusion in certain countries in Africa since 1977. This requirement is related to concerns about rare strains of HIV that are not consistently detected by all current test methods. Learn more about HIV Group O, and the specific African countries where it is found.

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Cancer

Eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. If you had leukemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkin’s Disease, you are not eligible to donate. Other types of cancer are acceptable if the cancer has been treated successfully and it has been at least 5 years since treatment was completed and there has been no cancer recurrence in this time. 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.

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Chronic Illnesses

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, and you meet all other eligibility requirements.

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Bleeding Condition

If you have a history of bleeding problems, you will be asked additional questions. 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 48 hours in order donate platelets by apheresis.

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Cold, Flu

Wait if you have a fever or a productive cough (bringing up phlegm)

Wait if you do not feel well on the day of donation.

Wait until you have completed antibiotic treatment for sinus, throat or lung infection.

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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate. Those who have a blood relative who had Creutzfeld-Jacob disease are also not eligible to donate. Learn more about CJD.

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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD); "Mad Cow Disease"

See under Travel Outside of U.S. Learn more about vCJD and blood donation.

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Dental Procedures and Oral Surgery

Acceptable after dental procedures as long as there is no infection present. Wait until finishing antibiotics for a dental infection. Wait for 3 days after having oral surgery.

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Insulin

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.

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Donation Intervals

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.

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Heart Disease

In general , acceptable as long as you have been medically evaluated and treated, have no current (within the last 6 months) heart related symptoms such as chest pain and have no limitations or restrictions on your normal daily activities.

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.

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Heart Murmur, Heart Valve Disorder

Acceptable if you have a heart murmur as long as you have been medically evaluated and treated and have not had symptoms in the last 6 months, and have no restrictions on your normal daily activities.

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Hemochromatosis (Hereditary)

American Red Cross does not accept individuals with hemochromatosis as blood donors for other persons at this time. However, we are currently planning a pilot program for hemochromatosis donors in one of our regions that will be evaluated for possible system wide implementation. The pilot program is expected to be completed by the end of 2005.

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Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Blood Count

Acceptable if you have a hemoglobin at or above 12.5 g/dL.

Acceptable if you have a hematocrit at or above 38%.

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Hepatitis, Jaundice

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 Cytomegalovirus (CMV), or Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), the virus that causes 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.

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Hepatitis Exposure

If you live with or have had sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis, you must wait 12 months after the last contact.

Persons who have been detained or incarcerated in a facility (juvenile detention, lockup, jail, or prison) for more than 72 consecutive hours (3 days) are deferred for 12 months from the date of last occurrence. This includes work release programs and weekend incarceration. These persons are at higher risk for exposure to infectious diseases.

Wait 12 months after receiving a blood transfusion (unless it was your own "autologous" blood), 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.

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HIV, AIDS

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

You are at risk for getting infected if you:

* have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor

* are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977

* have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977

* have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above

* received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia

* were born in, or lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea,Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria, since 1977.

* since 1977, received a blood transfusion or medical treatment with a blood product in any of these countries, or

* had sex with anyone who, since 1977, was born in or lived in any of these countries. Learn more about HIV Group O, and the specific African countries where it is found.

You should not give blood if you have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS

* unexplained weight loss (10 pounds or more in less than 2 months)

* night sweats

* blue or purple spots in your mouth or skin

* white spots or unusual sores in your mouth

* lumps in your neck, armpits, or groin, lasting longer than one month

* diarrhea that won’t go away

* cough that won’t go away and shortness of breath, or

* fever higher than 100.5 F lasting more than 10 days.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRP)

Women on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis are eligible to donate.

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Hypertension, High Blood Pressure

See "Blood Pressure, High"

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Immunization, Vaccination

Acceptable if you were vaccinated for influenza, tetanus or meningitis, providing you are symptom-free and fever-free.

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), 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.

* Smallpox vaccination and did not develop complications

Wait 8 weeks (56 days) from the date of having a smallpox vaccination as long as you have had no complications. Complications may include skin reactions beyond the vaccination site or general illness related to the vaccination.

* Smallpox vaccination and developed complications

Wait 14 days after all vaccine complications have resolved or 8 weeks (56 days) from the date of having had the smallpox vaccination whichever is the longer period of time. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation. Complications may include skin reactions beyond the vaccination site or general illness related to the vaccination.

* Smallpox vaccination – close contact with someone who has had the smallpox vaccine in the last eight weeks and you did not develop any skin lesions or other symptoms.

Eligible to donate.

* Smallpox vaccination – close contact with someone who has had the vaccine in the last eight weeks and you have since a developed skin lesions or symptoms.

Wait 8 weeks (56 days) from the date of the first skin lesion or sore. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation. Complications may include skin reactions or general illness related to the exposure.

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Infections

If you have a fever or an active infection, wait until the infection has resolved completely before donating blood.

Wait until finished taking antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral).

Those who have had infections with Chagas Disease or babesiosis are not eligible to donate.

See also Antibiotics, Hepatitis, HIV, Syphilis/Gonorrhea, and Tuberculosis.

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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.

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Malaria

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 living in a country where malaria is found. Learn more about malaria and blood donation.

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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:

* Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis or Sotret (isoretinoin), Proscar (finasteride), and Propecia (finasteride) - wait 1 month from the last dose.

* Avodart (dutasteride) - wait 6 months from the last dose.

* Aspirin, no waiting period for donating blood. However you must wait 48 hours after taking aspirin or any medication containing aspirin before donating platelets by apheresis.

* Clopidogrel - wait 7 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis.

* Coumadin (warfarin) , heparin or other prescription blood thinners- you should not donate since your blood will not clot normally. If your doctor discontinues your treatment with blood thinners, wait 7 days before returning to donate.

* Hepatitis B Immune Globulin – given for exposure to hepatitis, wait 12 months after exposure to hepatitis.

* Human pituitary-derived growth hormone at any time - you are not eligible to donate blood.

* Plavix - wait 7 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis.

* Soriatane (acitretin) - wait 3 years.

* Tegison (etretinate) at any time - you are not eligible to donate blood.

* Ticlid - wait 7 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis.

* Ticlopidine - wait 7 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis.

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 48 hours after taking aspirin or any medication containing aspirin before donating platelets by apheresis. If you take Ticlid or Plavix, wait 7 days 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 7 days before returning to donate.

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Organ/Tissue Transplants

Wait 12 months after receiving a Kidney transplant or tissue transplant from another person. If you are taking medications to prevent rejection of the kidney or tissue you are not eligible to donate. You are not eligible if you have had any other type of organ transplants regardless of medications to prevent rejection.

If you ever received 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.

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Piercing (ears, body), Electrolysis

Acceptable as long as the instruments used were sterile, one time use.

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.

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Pregnancy, Nursing

Persons who are pregnant are not eligible to donate. Wait 6 weeks after giving birth.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease

Wait 12 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.

Acceptable if it has been more than 12 months since you completed treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.

Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus), or genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements.

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Sickle Cell

Acceptable if you have sickle cell trait. Those with sickle cell disease are not eligible to donate.

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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.

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Syphilis/Gonorrhea

Wait 12 months after being treated for syphilis or gonorrhea.

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Tattoo

Wait 12 months after a tattoo if the tattoo was applied in a state that does not regulate tattoo facilities. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis. Learn more about hepatitis and blood donation.

Acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile technique. Only a few states currently regulate tattoo facilities, so most donors with tattoos must wait 12 months after tattoo application before donating blood. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.

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Tuberculosis

If you have active tuberculosis or are being treated for active tuberculosis you should not donate. Acceptable if you have a positive skin test, but no active 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.

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Travel Outside of U.S., Immigration

Wait 12 months after travel in an area where malaria is found. Wait 3 years 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. Learn more about HIV Group O, and the specific African countries where it is found.

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Venereal Diseases

See also "Sexually Transmitted Disease"

Wait 12 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.

Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus), or genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements.

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Weight

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.