Can everyone donate blood?
Anyone who meets the basic eligibility requirements for blood donation can apply for a donation: over 18 years of age, weighing 50kg and with healthy lifestyles and habits.
Prior to blood donation, a clinical assessment (clinical screening) is carried out by a qualified healthcare professional for individual assessment of the risk of the identified clinical circumstances. If no situations are identified that could jeopardize your safety as a donor and the safety of the recipient as a patient, you can donate blood.
I've already given blood this year. Can I repeat the donation?
A minimum interval of 2 months between donations is acceptable as long as there are no more than 3/4 blood samples in a 12-month period, for women and men, respectively.
I don't know my blood group. Is it serious?
Not knowing your blood group is not an impediment to applying for blood donation. After the first actual donation, your blood group is determined.
The following tests are performed on whole blood units and apheresis (selectively taking a small percentage of a blood component): blood group AB0 and Rh D and detection of the following infections:
- Hepatitis B (AgHbs)
- Hepatitis C (Anti-HCV)
- AIDS/ Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Anti-HIV1/2)
Additional analyses may, however, be needed in view of specific epidemiological situations.
Is my blood type needed?
yes. All blood groups are necessary, even those that are most common. The rarity/need depends on the proportion of people who donate and receive the same blood type (if you think that the most common group is the A+, this group is also the most needed).
Just remember that you may need blood yourself!
What are my duties as a Blood Donor?
The Blood Donation Candidate must formalize his/her consent to the donation in writing (completion of the informed consent) and must answer truthfully, conscientiously and responsibly to the questions posed to him/her with a view to protecting his/her health (as a Donor) and the health of the recipient/patient, also preserving the quality and safety of the donated component.
I have been vaccinated against COVID-19, can I give blood?
By the precautionary principle, people vaccinated with the vaccines COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca VAXZEVRIA and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen are suspended for a period of 7 days after vaccination if asymptomatic and for a period of 7 days after resolution of symptoms if they have symptoms.
Can I get COVID-19 from going to give blood?
Blood establishments and their professionals comply with the safety requirements set by the competent authority. Professionals are vaccinated and use appropriate equipment, all hygiene and social distancing measures are scrupulously complied with.
Can I transmit COVID-19 by giving blood?
There is no scientific evidence that the disease COVID-19 is transmitted by transfusion, but there may be a theoretical risk of transmissibility. Blood services have implemented eligibility criteria for blood donors in the face of risk contacts or COVID-19 disease.
A surveillance procedure is also in place, post-donation information, whereby donors are informed that they should contact the blood service after donation in case of illness within 7 days of donation.
I had an endoscopic examination (endoscopy, colonoscopy). Can I give blood?
You can apply for blood donation 4 months after the test.
I had tests requested by the family doctor. Can I give blood?
If the person is waiting for the results of complementary diagnostic tests requested by routine and without associated symptoms, he or she may apply for blood donation.
The performance of examinations and/or analyses for diagnostic purposes and for therapeutic guidance implies the suspension of the candidate for donation until the results are known and complete clinical clarification.
I had surgery. Can I give blood?
The period of suspension depends on the type of surgery, degree of complexity and possible side effects, as well as potential blood transfusion and clinical evolution.
You may be eligible for blood donation 4 months after surgery if you have had no complications and have not received a blood transfusion. In case of complications (readmission, or other) you should contact the qualified health professional of the blood service.
I had a minor surgery (excision of moles, laser, minor ophthalmic surgery). Will I be able to give blood?
You can apply to donate blood 1 week later as long as you have no symptoms (asymptomatic).
I smoke, once in a while "a joint", can I give blood?
Drug use requires a clinical assessment by a qualified health professional on the frequency of use and the manner of administration, so you should always report this situation to a qualified health professional in the context of cynical screening.
I had cancer more than 5 years ago and was considered cured. Can I give blood?
You should consult a qualified healthcare professional, as this is a criterion for clinical evaluation.
Is obesity an impediment to blood donation?
Obesity by itself does not contraindicate blood donation and may be associated with certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, among others.
Does the surgical treatment of obesity also require a suspension for 6 months?
You should consult a qualified healthcare professional, as this is a criterion for clinical evaluation.
I had anemia, I was being treated with iron and I already feel fine. Can I give blood?
You should consult a qualified healthcare professional, as this is a criterion for clinical evaluation. The cause of the anaemia should be evaluated and normalisation of the haemoglobin value should be confirmed. It is advisable to assess iron stores after martial therapy.
I'm flu. Can I give blood?
If you have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough and muscle pain (myalgias)) you cannot apply for blood donation. You can apply 15 days after clinical resolution, if you have no symptoms (asymptomatic) and no medication.
If you have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough and muscle pain (myalgias)) or similar symptoms with indeterminate fever between 1 May and 31 October each year, you are suspended for blood donation for a period of 28 days
I changed sexual partners. Can I give blood?
Some behaviors with an increased risk for blood-borne infections are:
- injecting and inhalable drug use
- Sexual contact:
- in the context of a business transaction
- with multiple people
- with a person at risk
- with a new person for less than 3 months
- With a person with a sexually transmitted bacterial infection:
- sexual practice under the influence of alcohol and drugs, except erectile dysfunction drugs
Sexual contact with a new person carries a suspension period of 3 months.
I received a transfusion. Can I give blood?
If you received a blood transfusion after 1980, you cannot apply for blood donation. The implementation of this criterion for suspending blood donation follows the risk of secondary transmission of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), also known as mad cow disease, by transfusion.
If you received a transfusion before 1980 you may be eligible for blood donation and an individual risk assessment will be carried out according to the country in which it was performed.
Is my profession risky? Can I give blood?
Exposure to events or situations that increase the risk of acquiring an infectious disease can occur at any time in life. The search for information by a qualified health professional about hobbies, profession, gardening activities, close contacts with domestic and wild animals are fundamental in the individual assessment of exposure to risk.
There are professions (health professionals, firefighters, military personnel, slaughterhouse employees) in which there is a varying degree of exposure to infectious risk.
According to the individual risk assessment, there may be a contraindication to blood donation.
I had dental work. Can I give blood?
In the case of:
- tooth extraction, implant, restoration requiring perforation and root canal treatment You can apply for blood donation 7 days after the end of treatment/therapy and if asymptomatic
- Scaling, adjustment of orthodontic appliances, teeth whitening and polishing You can apply for blood donation 24 hours after treatment and if asymptomatic
- suture in the oral cavity may be a candidate for blood donation 7 days after removal of the stitches and if asymptomatic
I have fibromyalgia. Can I give blood?
Fibromyalgia is a non-inflammatory pain syndrome characterized by diffuse muscle pain, fatigue, paresthesias, and sleep disturbances.
If the medication does not contraindicate blood donation, and if the person feels well, they can apply for blood donation.
I'm diabetic. Can I give blood?
People with type 1 diabetes cannot give blood – type 1 diabetes: alteration of glucose metabolism characterized by the presence of hyperglycemia, resulting from the destruction of pancreatic β cells, mediated by autoimmune mechanisms and requiring insulin therapy.
People with type 2 diabetes will be able to apply for blood donation if they have:
- Adequate glycemic control with diet
- oral medication or injectable medication, other than insulin
- No change in the type and dosage of antidiabetic drugs (oral and injectable other than insulin) in the last 4 weeks
- no recent history of postural hypotension or dizziness
Type 2 diabetes: an alteration in glucose metabolism characterised by the presence of hyperglycaemia and a state of relative insulin deficiency, resulting in particular from insulin resistance. Usually only oral therapy is required, but in some cases insulin therapy is required.
I'm hypertensive. Won't they let me give blood if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the existence of disease can condition the heart's response to blood donation. Hypertensive people can be admitted as long as they are not under study and have controlled hypertension (without heart, kidney and peripheral arterial pathology compromise).
Medication with antihypertensive drugs is not an impediment, as long as the person who is a candidate for donation meets the recommended requirements.
It is recommended that at the time of donation the blood pressure values are:
- Systolic: ≥ 100 mmHg and ≤ 180 mmHg
- Diastolic: ≥ 60 mmHg and ≤ 100 mmHg
People with blood pressure values:
- Systolic: < 100 mmHg and
- Diastolic < 60 mmHg
They can be accepted for donation after individual risk assessment, i.e. as long as they do not have episodes of fainting or dizziness, as there is no higher incidence of adverse reactions in these cases.
I have my period (menstruation). Can I give blood?
The menstrual period does not contraindicate blood donation. In some clinical circumstances (absence of period, if you are under study for abundant and prolonged periods; if you have intense and uncontrolled menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) blood donation is contraindicated, until the cause is fully clarified by your treating doctor.
If the pain is controlled by medication, you may be a candidate for blood donation.
I'm trying to get pregnant. Can I give blood?
You can apply for blood donation as long as you have no missed menstrual period and are not under study or infertility treatment. If the donation is under infertility study, it is contraindicated for a period of 180 days. If you have received donor sperm, the donation is contraindicated for a period of 180 days.
If treatment for infertility has been carried out, donation is contraindicated for a period of 90 days.
If in doubt, you should contact the blood service.
I'm pregnant. Can I give blood?
While you are pregnant, you will not be able to give blood. You can apply for blood donation 6 months after delivery.
I'm breastfeeding. Can I give blood?
Blood donation during breastfeeding can reduce iron stores and affect the amount of iron in breast milk.
Breastfeeding contraindicates blood donation.
You can apply for blood donation 90 days after breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding for more than 12 months, you can apply for blood donation.
I had a miscarriage/termination of pregnancy. Can I give blood?
An interruption of pregnancy is associated with a suspension period of 6 months. However, given the multiple circumstances of clinical presentation, in case of doubt, you can consult the qualified health professional of the blood service.
I am over 65 years of age. Can I give blood?
People over the age of 65 will be able to apply for blood donation, and their eligibility for donation is at the discretion of the blood service doctor.
I have a piercing. Can I give blood?
You can apply for blood donation 4 months after the piercing is placed.
I have a tattoo. Can I give blood?
You can apply for blood donation 4 months after the tattoo. Painting, stencilling and the use of transfers do not contraindicate blood donation.
I had epilepsy. Can I give blood?
Epilepsy contraindicates blood donation.
If you have a history of seizures, you can apply for blood donation by providing a medical report to the qualified healthcare professional so that the cause can be clarified and an individual risk assessment can be carried out.
If you had a seizure during childhood, or at least three years have passed since the last date on which the donor candidate took anti-seizure medication and without recurrence of seizures, you may be eligible for blood donation.
I'm on cholesterol medication. Can I give blood?
The person can apply for blood donation. Hypercholesterolemia occurs when the level of cholesterol in the blood is outside the normal reference values, taking into account gender and age. This situation can be reversible by diet modification and the use of oral therapy.
I'm on antibiotics. Can I give blood?
Antibiotic medication contraindicates blood donation. You can apply for blood donation 14 days after the last dose, and as long as you are asymptomatic.
However, depending on the individual assessment of the cause of the intake and the antibiotic prescribed, a longer period of suspension may be applied.
I'm on antidepressants. Can I give blood?
Antidepressant medication does not contraindicate blood donation, as long as the person feels well and emotionally stable (no deep sadness, indifference, low self-esteem, easy crying).
In case of polypharmacy you should consult the blood service. The minimum number of medications required to define polypharmacy is variable, usually between 5 and 10 medications.
I recently traveled. Can I give blood?
Travel history should be assessed as it may pose an increased risk of temporary or permanent exposure to transfusion-borne infectious diseases. Recent travel or travel history should be identified by the candidate for blood donation in order to exclude exposure to endemic and prevalent or tropical infections. Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases pose major challenges in terms of the eligibility of the candidate for blood donation.
The regional risk in a country affected by an infectious situation, for example epidemic or pandemic, may vary, and condition population confinements. This results in the need to inquire about travel and risk exposure to suspected or confirmed contacts of infectious disease.
For an individual risk assessment it is important to identify where you have travelled and whether you have resided temporarily in a country, for how long, as well as whether you became ill (occurrence of symptoms) during or after return.
If in doubt, you should contact the qualified health care professional of the blood service.
Is special care required after donation?
Approximately 450 ml of blood (+/- 10%) are collected during donation. The replenishment of proteins and blood cells is carried out by the body. Reinforcing fluid intake (water) before and after donation is very important so that volume replacement after donation is facilitated.
You will be able to return to your normal occupation. However, some professional activities that require particular attention are identified:
- Paratroopers, drivers of public transport and heavy vehicles, divers, climbers, scaffolding and electrical installation workers, miners, must wait a minimum of 12 hours to restart the activity
- Dangerous hobbies and sports should not be held on the day of the donation
- Aviation pilots must wait 24 to 72 hours to restart the activity
- trips: rest of 6 hours after donation, before a journey of more than 100Km driving
- air traffic controllers must wait at least 12 hours before resuming their professional activity (The Civil Aviation Authority guidelines (AIC 97/2004))
All recommendations will be given to you by the qualified healthcare professional accompanying you during the blood draw.
Will I be able to carry out all activities after the blood donation?
There are certain professions and hobbies that are part of the dangerous activities, and it may be necessary to wait a minimum period of 12 hours to restart the activity. See question "Is special care required after donation?".
Source: Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation (IPST)