Eligibility Criteria by Alphabetical Listing
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Acceptable after finishing oral antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral). May have taken last pill on the date of donation. Antibiotic by injection for an infection acceptable 10 days after last injection. Acceptable if you are taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, for example, following dental procedures or for acne. Some conditions which require antibiotics to prevent an infection must still be evaluated at the time of donation by the responsible medical director. If you have a temperature above 99.5 F, you may not donate.
You may not donate if you received a blood transfusion since 1980 in the United Kingdom or France. (The United Kingdom consists of the following countries: 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.
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.
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.
Wait at least 7 days between platelet (pheresis) donations.
Wait at least 16 weeks between double red cell (automated) donations.
View the most recent joint statement made by the Red Cross, AABB and America's Blood Centers dated June 15, 2010
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.
Wait at least 6 months after a change in your heart condition that resulted in a change to your medications.
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 your personal healthcare provider and the health historian at the time of donation.
Separate requirements for hemoglobin level apply for double red cell donations.
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.
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.
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
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.
Acceptable if you received an HPV Vaccine (example, Gardasil).
Wait 4 weeks after immunizations for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), Chicken Pox and Shingles.
Wait 2 weeks after immunizations for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Polio (by mouth), and Yellow Fever vaccine.
Wait 21 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 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.
Wait until finished taking antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral). Wait 10 days after the last antibiotic injection for an infection.
Those who have had infections with Chagas Disease or Babesiosis are not eligible to donate.
See also Antibiotics, Hepatitis, HIV, Syphilis/Gonorrhea, and Tuberculosis.
Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements are acceptable.
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 (isotretinoin), Proscar (finasteride), and Propecia (finasteride) - wait 1 month from the last dose.
- Avodart or Jalyn (dutasteride) - wait 6 months from the last dose.
- Aspirin, no waiting period for donating whole blood. However you must wait 48 hours after taking aspirin or any medication containing aspirin before donating platelets by apheresis.
- Effient (prasugrel) - wait 14 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis.
- Feldene (piroxicam), no waiting period for donating whole blood. However you must wait 48 hours after taking Feldene (piroxicam) before donating platelets by apheresis.
- Coumadin (warfarin) , heparin, Pradaxa (dabigatran), Xarelto (rivaroxaban), Lovenox (enoxaparin) 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 (clopidogrel) - wait 14 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 (ticlopidine) - wait 14 days after taking this medication before donating platelets by apheresis
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.
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.
Acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused. Cosmetic tattoos applied in a licensed establishment in a regulated state using sterile needles and ink that is not reused is acceptable. There are 40 states that currently regulate tattoo facilities. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.
Wait 12 months after travel to Iraq. This requirement is related to concerns about Leishmanaisis. Those who have had Leishmanaisis are not eligible to donate. See In-Depth Discussion of Leishmanaisis and Blood Donation below.
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.
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.
Blood volume is determined by body weight and height. Individuals with low blood volumes may not tolerate the removal of the required volume of blood given with whole blood donation. 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.
Below is additional reference material if you did not find what you were looking for above.
Last updated: 2/25/2013
By: Yvette Marie Miller, MD., Executive Medical Officer
By: Kathleen M. Grima, MD., Executive Medical Officer
By: M.A.P., RN, BSN
Note to users: Eligibility guidelines may have changed since this information was last updated. For current information, please contact the American Red Cross blood region nearest you.
In-Depth Discussion of Age and Blood Donation
Those younger than age 17 are almost always legal minors (not yet of the age of majority) who cannot give consent by themselves to donate blood. (Each state determines its own age of majority, which can be different for different activities.)
Persons under the age of 17 may, however, donate blood for their own use, in advance of scheduled surgery or in situations where their blood has special medical value for a particular patient such as a family member.
In-Depth Discussion of Variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease and Blood Donation
In some parts of the world, cattle can get an infectious, fatal brain disease called Mad Cow Disease. In these same locations, humans have started to get a new disease called variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (vCJD) which is also a fatal brain disease. Scientists believe that vCJD is Mad Cow Disease that has somehow transferred to humans, possibly through the food chain.
There is now evidence from a small number of case reports involving patients and laboratory animal studies that vCJD can be transmitted through transfusion. There is no test for vCJD in humans that could be used to screen blood donors and to protect the blood supply. This means that blood programs must take special precautions to keep vCJD out of the blood supply by avoiding collections from those who have been where this disease is found.
At this time, the American Red Cross donor eligibility rules related to vCJD are as follows:
You are not eligible to donate if:
From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK) or France. The UK includes any of the countries listed below.
- Channel Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Isle of Man
- Northern Ireland
You were a member of the of the U.S. military, a civilian military employee, or a dependent of a member of the U.S. military who spent a total time of 6 months on or associated with a military base in any of the following areas during the specified time frames
- From 1980 through 1990 - Belgium, the Netherlands (Holland), or Germany
- From 1980 through 1996 - Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy or Greece.
You spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 5 years or more from January 1, 1980, to present, in any combination of country(ies) in Europe, including
- in the UK from 1980 through 1996 as listed above
- on or associated with military bases as described above, and
- in other countries in Europe as listed below:
- Czech Republic
- Ireland (Republic of)
- Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
- Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
- Netherlands (Holland)
- Serbia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
- Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
- Yugoslavia (Federal Republic includes Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia)
In-Depth Discussion of HIV Group O and Blood Donation
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. The virus can be transmitted through blood transfusion, so all donor programs are required to question donors about possible HIV exposure, and to test donated blood for this virus.
There is a rare form of HIV called Type O that is found in western Africa. The tests for HIV detect the Type O strain.
In-Depth Discussion of Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD) and Blood Donation
CJD is a rare, progressive and fatal brain disorder that occurs in all parts of the world and has been known about for decades. CJD is different from variant CJD, the new disease in humans thought to be associated with Mad Cow disease in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
CJD appears to be an infectious disease. It has been transmitted from infected humans to patients through the transplantation of the covering of the brain (dura mater), use of contaminated brain electrodes, and injection of growth hormones derived from human pituitary glands. Rarely, CJD is associated with an hereditary predisposition; that is, it occurs in biologic or “blood” relatives ( persons in the same genetic family).
There is no evidence that CJD can be transmitted from donors to patients through blood transfusions. However, nobody knows for certain that this cannot happen. There is no test for CJD that could be used to screen blood donors. This means that blood programs must take special precautions to keep CJD out of the blood supply by not taking blood donations from those who might have acquired this infection.
You are considered to be at higher risk of carrying CJD if you
- Received a dura mater (brain covering) graft;
- Received human pituitary-derived growth hormone injections; or
- Have a biologic relative who has been diagnosed with CJD.
- If any of these descriptions apply to you, you should not donate blood until more is known about CJD and the risk to the blood supply.
In-Depth Discussion of Hepatitis and Blood Donation
"Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by many things including gallstones, medications, drinking alcohol, obesity and liver infections.
Hepatitis caused by Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus can be easily transmitted from donors to patients through transfusion. It is possible for a donor to carry a hepatitis virus even though he has never been sick with an inflamed liver, and he feels entirely well at the time of donation.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are transmitted between people through sexual contact and blood-to-blood contact, such as occurs when needles are shared during IV drug use. Hepatitis viruses can also be transmitted from mothers to their unborn babies. However, many people who have hepatitis virus infection cannot determine how they became infected. There is a vaccine for the hepatitis B virus.
All blood donations are tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C with several different tests. But because these tests are not perfect, it is still important for people who may be infected with hepatitis viruses to not donate blood. In some cases, all that is required is a waiting period after some particular event, such as an exposure to a patient with hepatitis, to be sure the person was not infected. In other cases, the likelihood of hepatitis is high enough that the person is not eligible to donate regardless of how much time has gone by.
In-Depth Discussion of Leishmanaisis and Blood Donation
Leishmanaisis is a parasitic infection transmitted through the bite of infected sand flies. It is thought to have infected some civilian and military personnel serving in Iraq. This infection may be transmitted from a donor to a patient through transfusion. You are not eligible to donate if you have had Leishmanaisis.
In-Depth Discussion of Malaria and Blood Donation
Malaria is a blood infection caused by a parasite that can be transmitted from a donor to a patient through transfusion. It is possible to have a new infection with malaria but have no symptoms, even though the parasite is present in your blood. It is also possible to feel well, but have a very mild case of malaria, especially if you have lived for extended periods of time in parts of the world where malaria is found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection keep track of the locations with malaria for international travelers from the United States, and this information is available on their web site. You can see if malaria is found in the location you traveled to or lived in by searching for it on the CDC Web-based Malaria Risk
Map Application at the following link http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/map/.
Blood donations are not tested for malaria. Therefore, it is important that people who may have malaria or been exposed to malaria because of living in, or traveling to, a country where malaria is present not be allowed to donate blood until enough time has passed to be certain that they are not infected with malaria. This is done by having a waiting period for those who lived in, move from, or traveled to, the locations with malaria.
If you have traveled outside of the United States, your travel destinations will be reviewed to see if you were in a malaria-risk area. It would be most helpful if you came prepared to report the country and city or destinations to which you traveled, as well as the travel dates.