Frequently Asked Questions about Blood Donation
Do I feel good today? That is the first question you should ask yourself when considering blood donation. If you are, generally, in good health, you can usually give blood. Healthy individuals who are
- 16 and weigh at least 125 pounds (with signed parental permission),
- 17 and weigh at least 125 pounds or
- 18 and weigh at least 110 pounds
are encouraged to donate blood regularly.
If your question isn’t answered below, or you need more detailed information BEFORE you donate, contact us at 1-877-340-8777.
Click on any question to view its answer.
- Can I donate after receiving a tattoo?
Yes, if the tattoo facility is licensed.
If it is not licensed, you need to wait 12 months after getting a tattoo to give.
- Can I donate after taking aspirin or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication?
You can donate if you are now feeling well and it has been at least 48 hours since you took the aspirin or aspirin-containing product.
Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen will not affect a whole blood donation. Apheresis platelet donors, however, must not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products 36 hours prior to donation. Aspirin reduces the potency and performance of your platelets. The more time between taking aspirin and donating blood, the better for the recipient.
It is recommended that you call the donor center before you come to donate to inquire about any medications you are taking. Most times, taking medications will not keep you from donating.
- Can I donate if I am pregnant?
If you are pregnant, you’ll need to wait until six weeks after you deliver before donating.
- Can I donate if I am sick or taking prescription medications?
If you are taking an antibiotic or running a fever, you’ll need to wait for another time before donating.
Most prescription medications taken on a daily basis will not keep you from donating. However, there are some medications that could cause you to be deferred. Click here for a full list of medications that will defer you or call 877-340-8777 for assistance. (Please use Internet Explorer or Firefox to access this list.)
- Can I donate if I have had cancer?
Cancer survivors can donate blood one year after being cancer free. Those who have melanoma without metastases can donate after a three year waiting period. Those who have had hematologic blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple melanomas remain ineligible to donate blood.
- Do any vaccinations make me ineligible to donate?
Below are some rules for common vaccines and injections. With many, you will not be deferred from donating.
- How long do I have to wait to donate after giving birth?
You can begin donating after six weeks.
- How long should I wait to donate after getting a flu shot?
There is no waiting period to donate after receiving a flu shot.
- How often can I donate?
Healthy individuals can donate whole blood every 56 days, plasma every 28 days and platelets every 7 days. Donors who give a double red blood cell donation are eligible again after 112 days.
- If I’ve recently had an ear or body piercing performed, can I donate?
Yes, if the piercing was obtained at a facility that is approved by TBI. The facility must appear on our “Ear and Body Piercing Facilities” list. If you would like to know if a specific place is listed, please call 877-340-8777.
- If I’ve recently traveled to Mexico on vacation can I donate?
Zika virus infection is spreading rapidly in the Western Hemisphere, outside the Continental United States and Canada. Zika virus can be present in the blood of an infected person who has no symptoms of illness, and there is concern that Zika virus can be transmitted by blood.
GIVEN THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ZIKA VIRUS, WE ASK THAT YOU DO NOT DONATE IF:
- In the past 4 weeks you have traveled to one of the countries or territories with active Zika virus transmission.
- In the past 4 weeks you have had a Zika infection.
- In the past 4 weeks you have had symptoms suggestive of Zika which arose within 2 weeks of departure from a country or territory with active Zika virus transmission (Refer to the List of Countries and Territories with Active Zika Transmission).
In the past 4 weeks you have had sexual contact with a man who has:
- been diagnosed with Zika OR
- has traveled to or resided in a country or territory with active Zika virus transmission in the 3 months prior to your sexual contact with him (Refer to the List of Countries and Territories with Active Zika Transmission).
Please call 1-800-375-7654 if you have a history of recent travel to or residence in an area with active Zika transmission and either of the following occur after your donation:
- You are diagnosed with Zika virus infection
- You develop symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection within 2 weeks following donation
- Should I wait for a local emergency or natural disaster to donate?
Patients in the hospitals we serve need blood everyday. Your donation is, literally, a matter of life and death to someone in need of it. Typically, there is a two-day period from the time of donation until that blood is available to a patient, so we must have blood available before an emergency or natural disaster occurs.