Donating blood is a selfless act. It enhances the lives of up to three recipients. Red blood cell, plasma, and platelets all the components of blood are vital for a lifeline.
But, are you aware that only one in thirty people can donate blood. There are several restrictions in donating blood, which actually protect you and the recipient.
11 Reasons Why You Cannot Donate Blood
- A Person On Certain Medications: There are certain medications, consuming which you have to wait for a period of time, after your final dose(1), to donate blood. Such as, if a person is on antibiotics, he has to wait until he feels healthy. If taking aspirin or any other medicine containing aspirin, a waiting period of two full days after discontinuing the medicine is needed, to be eligible to donate blood.
- Someone Recently Vaccinated: A person who has been vaccinated by a vaccine containing a live infectious agent such as measles, shingles and chicken pox, should wait for at least 4 weeks (after being vaccinated) to donate blood.
- One Who Has Got A Recent Tattoo Or Any Needle Treatment: There are certain states which do not enforce the tattooing standards such as using sterilized needles and prohibiting the reuse of ink. If you get a tattoo done from such places you have to wait for 12 months before donating blood, else you might spread infection (2). Always discuss your situation with a healthcare professional. Also, if gone for certain cosmetic treatments which require piecing with needles you got to wait at least for 4 months.
- A Person Tested Positive For Hepatitis or HIV: HIV and hepatitis are transmitted through blood, which is why you cannot donate blood if got tested positive for either. Some types of hepatitis are not treatable and lead to a fatal health problem such as liver failure and liver cancer. It is therefore not recommended to donate blood if suffering from these conditions.
- Underweight: A person weighing less than 110 pounds are not eligible to donate blood(2). Underweight individuals have low blood volumes and would not be able to tolerate the removal of the required volume of blood.
- Someone With Too High Or Too Low Iron Levels: People with low iron levels i.e. less than 12.5g/dl in women and 13g/dl in men cannot donate blood.(3) Regular donors, therefore, are advised to eat food rich in iron to keep their iron levels in a normal range. Also, those with high iron levels should not donate blood as high blood iron levels increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers.
- Suffering From Cancer: A person cannot donate blood if he is being treated for cancer, or the cancer is spreading or has come back, or is having cancer of blood such as leukemia or lymphoma, and even one suffering from Kaposi sarcoma. It’s not that cancer spreads through blood, but still, there are certain rules a donor has to follow.
- A Pregnant Female: To donate blood, expecting females should wait for at least 6 months after giving birth to the baby(2) She needs to be as healthy as possible while giving birth. Consult a healthcare physician if any multivitamin is required to make you eligible to donate blood post child birth.
- Suffering From Syphilis: Syphilis is an infection which spreads through the entire body. In some, despite getting the treatment, they need to be re-treated. If wanting to donate blood, you should wait for 12 months after getting fully treated. Before donating blood get thoroughly check by your healthcare provider, and wait for his ‘thumbs up’ to go ahead.
- Blood Clotting Disorder: If suffering from hemophilia or a blood clotting disorder, you should not donate blood, as you may bleed excessively where the needle is placed.(2) Also, if a person recently has had sex with someone suffering from a blood clotting disorder, they need to wait for one year, before they are allowed to donate blood.
- Someone in Relationship With A Drug User: If a person has had sex with someone taking drugs he needs to wait for a year before giving blood. Also, he should abstain himself from that partner for that time duration.
Donating blood under these conditions can put the life of recipient and sometimes even the donor at risk. Go for the required tests and consult a healthcare professional before going ahead with blood donation even if you are a regular donor.
- American Red Cross. (n.d.). Medications That May Delay Your Donation. Retrieved from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/common-concerns/medications-that-may-delay-donation.html
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Who can’t donate blood? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blood-donation/about/pac-20385144
- World Health Organization. (2021). Blood Safety and Availability: Blood Donor Selection. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blood-safety-and-availability