Blood donation eligibility is based on a number of factors. According to theAmerican Red Cross, you can donate blood only once every 56 days. You must also be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be 17 or older. In some states, 16 year-olds can donate with a parent’s written consent, according to the organization.
What does “good health” mean for blood donation eligibility?
Good health is described by the Red Cross as feeling well (especially the day of the donation) and having the ability to do normal daily activities. If you are feeling ill, they recommend you wait until 24 hours after all symptoms have cleared before donating blood.
If you fit these basic blood donation requirements, you may be eligible to donate!
6 reasons you could be ineligible to donate blood
So if you’re not feeling well, you may be ineligible to donate. Now let’s take a look at some other common reasons you may not be able to give blood:
- You are currently taking antibiotics to treat an infection
- Your blood does not clot normally or you’re taking blood thinners
- You have a skin disease or rash over the vein from which blood will be drawn
- You’re pregnant
- You got a tattoo in the last 12 months from a facility that is not state-regulated
- You have traveled outside the United States and Canada within the last three years
Outside of these scenarios, if you have any other concerns regarding your blood donation eligibility, it doesn’t hurt to speak with your doctor or the blood center’s medical help desk before coming into donate.
I’m eligible and ready to donate blood!
Once you’ve determined you are able to give blood, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Before donating, it is recommended that you do the following:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Eat a healthy, iron-rich meal
- Drink plenty of water
- Bring a valid form of ID to the blood center
Donating blood can be a great way to help your community, but it’s important to do it safely. If you and the members of your family are eligible, find out if there’s a local blood drive near you!
When was the last time you donated blood? When will you donate next?