Today’s #FunFactFriday is a pretty important one. We are discussing the importance of Blood Donation, and how this simple act of kindness affects those in need of your contribution – whether physical or monetary.
Fact #1 – The month of January is designated as National Blood Donor Month and is celebrated in order to help educate about blood donation and raise awareness about the need for more donors.
Fact #2 – Blood donation is one of the most common forms of “Living Donation” (compared to kidney or bone marrow). Why is it important? Get the facts down below (⇓).
Fact #3 – You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.
- Some people give blood because they were asked by a friend;
- Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day;
- Some believe it is the right thing to do
- I comes with the health perk of a free mini physical. They check
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Plus, there’s cookies!
Fact #4 – To be eligible, you must:
- Be in good general health and feeling well*
- Be at least 17-years-old in most states, or 16-years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law;
- Weigh at least 110 lbs.
(Additional weight requirements apply for donors 18-years-old and younger and all high school donors.)
Fact # 5 – Several other factors affect you ability to donate blood. Some of the most important ones are:
i. If you are sick or have a temperature above 99.5 F, you may not donate.
ii. Immunization/ Vaccination status – Acceptable if you were vaccinated for influenza, tetanus or meningitis, providing you are symptom-free and fever-free. Includes the Tdap vaccine and HPV Vaccine (example, Gardasil).
Wait 4 weeks after immunizations for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), Chicken Pox and Shingles; 2 weeks after immunizations for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Polio (by mouth), and Yellow Fever vaccine; and 21 days after immunization for hepatitis B as long as you are not given the immunization for exposure to hepatitis B.
iii. If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate. Those who have a blood relative who had Creutzfeld-Jakob disease are also not eligible to donate.
iv. If you had hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) caused by a virus, or unexplained jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin), since age 11, you are not eligible to donate blood. This includes those who had hepatitis with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), or Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), the virus that causes Mononucleosis.
n.b.You may only donate if you had jaundice or hepatitis caused by something other than a viral infection, for example: medications, alcohol, gallstones or trauma to the liver.
v. HIV/AIDS Status -You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV. Theses high risk behaviors include:
- the use of intravenous drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by your doctor
- are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977;
- have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
- received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia
n.b. You should also not give blood if you have any possible signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
vi. If you have had an STI such as syphillis or gonorrhea, it is suggested that you wait 12 months after completing treatment to donate blood gonorrhea. Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus -HPV), or genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements.
vii. Piercings – Persons with piercings (ears, body), or have undergone Electrolysis are acceptable donors as long as the instruments used were sterile or single-use equipment. It is recommended however that these individuals wait 12 months if there is any question whether or not the instruments used were sterile and free of blood contamination. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis.
viii. Tattoos – A tattoo is acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused. Cosmetic tattoos applied in a licensed establishment in a regulated state using sterile needles and ink that is not reused is acceptable. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.It is also recommended for these individuals to wait 12 months after a tattoo if the tattoo was applied in a state that does not regulate tattoo facilities. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis.
ix. Travel Outside the U.S. & Immigration – to determine your exposure to diseases such as malaria (spread by infeted blood and mosquito transmission), endemic to Africa, Asia, Central and South America, or ebola (spread through bodily fluids), endemic to regions of Africa. If you have traveled or lived in a malaria-risk country, you may be required to adhere to a waiting period before you can donate blood. The deferred periods are:
- Wait 3 years after completing treatment for malaria.
- Wait 12 months after returning from a trip to an area where malaria is found.
- Wait 3 years after living more than 5 years in a country or countries where malaria is found. An additional waiting period of 3 years may be required if you have traveled to an area where malaria is found if you have not lived a consecutive 3 years in a country or countries where malaria is not found.
Persons who have spent long periods of time in countries where Creutzfeld Jacob Disease -“mad cow disease” is found are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant Creutzfeld Jacob Disease (vCJD). You are not eligible to donate if: