13 Surprising Reasons You Might Not Be Able to Donate Blood

By | February 20, 2019

Donating blood is a generous—not to mention necessary—act, but there are several restrictions on giving that protect you and future recipients of your gift.

The medications you’re taking

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Most medications won’t disqualify you from being able to donate blood, but some may require a waiting period after your final dose. “If you’re taking an antibiotic for an infection, you may be asked to wait until you’re healthy again; if you’re taking aspirin and donating platelets, you must wait two full days after taking aspirin or any medication containing aspirin before donating,” says John R. Hackett, Jr., PhD, divisional vice president of applied research and technology for Abbott. When you go donate, make sure you have an updated medication list with you.

You’ve recently been vaccinated

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This doesn’t apply to common vaccinations such as those for the flu or HPV (the Gardasil vaccine). However, says Thomas Hirose, MD, Medical Director for Transfusion Services and Blood Donor Center at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, some vaccinations may contain live infectious agents. “A person who has been exposed to a live infectious agent in a vaccination should not donate for a specified period of time,” he says. For example, you should wait at least four weeks to donate after being vaccinated for the measles, shingles, or chicken pox, reports Sharecare. Talk to your doctor or donation center about how long you should wait. This is the rarest blood type in the world.

You got a tattoo from an un-regulated shop

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Not all states enforce tattooing standards such as requiring proper needle sterilization and prohibiting the reuse of ink. If you got a tattoo in a state that does not regulate facilities, you have to wait 12 months before donating, explains Dr. Hackett—you could transmit a viral infection. “Currently, the states that do not regulate tattoo facilities are District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming,” he says.

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