For the safety of you the donor and the safety of the patients, all volunteer blood donors must be evaluated to find out if they are eligible to give blood or not. Being eligible to donate blood simply means that you meet all the requirements that will enable you to donate blood.
About 10% to 30% of people who attempt to donate are deferred because of a low blood count.This is actually one of the most common reasons for being deferred from donating blood. If you were not allowed to donate because you had a low blood count, there are usually some simple measures you can take to raise your blood counts back to a healthy level. It is important to find out what is causing your low blood count, discuss your low blood count with your doctor, and together determine an effective treatment so you can donate blood again soon.
Although it is said that anyone can donate blood, not everyone is eligible to do so at a particular point in time.To be eligible to donate means that you should be completely free from any form of illness or deseases, you should be found generally in good health.
You are eligible to donate blood if:
- You are generally healthy, fit and do not suffer any form of illness. Avoid donating blood if you have a cold, a cold sore, a cough, a virus, or an upset stomach.
- You weigh at least 50 kg (are not underweight).
- You are not Anemic.
- You are between 17 and 60 years of age.
- Have not had minor dental work in the past 24 hours.
- Have not had major dental work in the past month.
- Have not had a major surgery in the past couple of months.
If you fall short of any of the requirements, you will not be allowed to donate blood until when that particular reason of which you were deferred has been corrected.This is what is referred to as Donor Deferral.
If you were deferred from donating blood with the reason that your iron level is low or you are anemic (this condition is usually reversible), you need to eat more iron-rich foods to increase your haemoglobin or you red blood cells.In doing so, you will be able to donate blood soon.
If a person is to be deferred, his or her name is entered into a list of deferred donors maintained by the blood center, often known as the “deferral registry.” If a deferred donor attempts to give blood before the end of the deferral period, the donor will not be accepted for donation. Once the reason for the deferral no longer exists and the temporary deferral period has lapsed, the donor may return to the blood bank and be re-entered into the system.
Some of the other reasons for deferrals include:
- Anyone who has ever used intravenous drugs (illegal IV drugs)
- Men who have had sexual contact with other men since 1977
- Anyone with a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus).
- Anyone found to have any form of disease after your blood has been tested.
- Men and women who have engaged in sex for money or drugs.
- Anyone on any form of medication.
- Anyone who has hepatitis.
- Anyone who is generally not in good health.
- Anyone who has had a major surgery in the last couple of months.
- Anyone who has been diagnosed with any form of organ failure ( Kidney, lung or liver failure,etc)
- If you have cold, flu or fever.You must be symptom-free from cold, flu or fever on the day of donation.
- If you are under the care of a doctor or dentist for more than routine checkups.
- If you are taking medication.Most medications do not prevent you from donating blood. Common medications such as those used to control blood pressure, birth control pills and over-the-counter medications do not affect your eligibility. If you have recently taken antibiotics, you must have completed the course prior to donating.
- If you have been vaccinated for chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and smallpox or who have received the oral polio vaccine must wait two to four weeks after vaccination.Other than that,donation is acceptable following most vaccinations as long as you are feeling well.
- If you have any allergies.
- If you have had an abortion/miscarriage recently.
- If you have alcohol in your system prior to the blood donation day.
- If you have donated whole blood before, you need to wait for at least 8 weeks before you can donate again.
- If you have cancer,treated surgically with radiation or chemotherapy,except for hematological cancers.
- If you are diabetic,until it is corrected, you can not donate blood.
- If you have gonorrhea or syphilis.
- If you are pregnant you can not donate until at least 8 weeks after delivery.
- If you have Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Cholera.
- If you have been diagnosed with any heart complications
- If you have high blood pressure
Some people are afraid to donate for reasons varying from worry about pain to worry about catching a disease. Donating blood is safe, as there are many precautions in place (sterilised needles are used and discarded after every use) and there is no reason to fear contracting a communicable disease. The most serious risks when donating blood are fainting and bruising, but if you go by the recommendations, you will be fine and you will not experience any effects after the blood donation.
Blood donation is not painful, it is just the feeling of the needle going through the skin. After that, one does not feel anything.