Who Can Donate Blood?
Anyone who is 17 years old , weighs at least 110 pounds, is in general good health, and meets the minimum eligibility requirements may give blood as often as every 56 days. All donors must provide a photo ID or two other forms of identification, including date of birth.
Note: By law, students 17-years or older are not required to have parental consent to give blood (click here and read section 709 for more information on the law). The school hosting the drive can choose to require parental permission, but it would be the responsibility of the schools to obtain those permissions.
- Whole blood donors can donate approximately every two months (56 days).
- Platelet donors (plateletpheresis) can donate approximately every two weeks (14 days). Donors are eligible to give platelets if they have a height, weight and platelet count ratio that is conducive to giving.
- Double Red Cell (ALYX) donors can donate approximately every four months (112 days). Women need to be at least 5’5″ and 150 pounds and men need to be at least 5’1″ and 130 pounds to make a double red cell donation.
Donors are required to show a photo ID or two other forms of ID. They must be at least 17 years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health:
- No active cold or flu-like symptoms on donation day, including a fever, sore throat, or diarrhea. Those on antibiotics for infection must wait 24 hours after they are finished to give blood.
- Donors who received a tattoo or body piercing must wait 12 months to donate unless it was applied in a state-regulated facility. If applied in a state-regulated facility, donors are eligible to donate in 14 days provided the tattoo or piercing site is healed. In the mid-Atlantic area, Delaware and Pennsylvania regulate these establishments; Maryland does not.
- Anyone who has had gonorrhea or syphilis (VD) in the last 12 months will be deferred.
- Those at risk for AIDS:
- Anyone infected with the AIDS virus (HIV) - indefinate deferral
- Anyone who has ever used illegal IV drugs (using needles) - indefinate deferral
- Any male who has had sex with another male, even one time - 12 months deferral
- Anyone who has had sex in exchange for money or drugs - indefinate deferral
- Anyone with hemophilia who has received clotting factor concentrates
- Those who have had recent major surgery or have a history of hepatitis, convulsions, heart disease or lung disease may be deferred.
- Donors who have travelled to certain parts of the world may be deferred due to a potential risk of contracting an infection that may be transmitted through blood transfusion.
For more specific deferral information, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.
Travel Guidelines for Blood Donation
To protect the blood supply and to comply with regulations and safety guidelines, blood banks defer donors who have travelled to certain parts of the world. These rules are in place due to a potential travel-related risk of contracting an infection that may be transmitted through blood transfusion. Read about common travel-related deferrals. If you have questions or need more information, please call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.
Recommendations Before and After Donating
- Stay hydrated – drink 8-10 glasses of water a day leading up to your blood donation and avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Eat a substantial meal within 3 hours before giving blood.
- After giving blood, avoid participating in strenuous physical labor or athletic activities for 24 hours. Resume normal activities the next day.
- PLATELET DONORS: No aspirin, or products containing aspirin, for at least 48 hours before your appointment. Do not take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, such as Ibuprofen, for 24 hours before your appointment. Tylenol is acceptable.
The FDA has provided a list of restricted medications that are cause for deferral. In addition, anti-infective medications such as antibiotics and anti-virals may be cause for deferral. Most other medications are acceptable, including anti-depressants. When you come to donate, please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
If you have high blood pressure, you can donate as long as it is no higher than 180/100 or lower than 90/50. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating.
Diabetics can give blood provided they don’t have complications associated with the disease.
For more information on current eligibility requirements, call 1 888-8BLOOD8. Blood Bank staff will be happy to discuss them with you.
If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please click here for more information.
Have more questions? Check out our frequently asked questions page.
Blood donors are needed every day.
If you are able to give blood, please join our efforts to save lives on Delmarva!