Can You Donate Blood If You Have a Tattoo? Plus Other Guidelines for Donation

If you have a tattoo, you can only donate blood if you meet certain criteria. A good rule of thumb is that you may not be able to give blood if your tattoo is less than 3 months old.

This goes for piercings and all other nonmedical injections on your body, too.

Introducing ink, metal, or any other foreign material into your body affects your immune system and may expose you to harmful viruses. This can affect what’s in your bloodstream, especially if you got your tattoo somewhere that isn’t regulated or doesn’t follow safe practices.

If there’s a chance that your blood has been compromised, the donation center won’t be able to use it. Keep reading to learn about the eligibility criteria, where to find a donation center, and more.

Giving blood after recently getting a tattoo can be dangerous. Though uncommon, an unclean tattoo needle can carry a number of bloodborne viruses, such as:

People with new tattoos have traditionally been advised to wait a year before giving blood in order to reduce their risk of unknowingly transmitting these viruses.

However, in April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated their recommendations and proposed a recommended deferral period of 3 months. If you’ve contracted a bloodborne illness, detectable antibodies will likely appear during this 3-month period.

That said, you may be able to donate blood in under 3 months if you got your tattoo at a state-regulated tattoo shop. State-regulated shops are routinely monitored for safe and sterile tattooing practices, so the risk of infection is low.

Some states have opted out of regulation, so don’t hesitate to ask your preferred artist about their qualifications beforehand.

It’s best to work with licensed artists who tattoo in state-regulated shops. Oftentimes, their certifications are prominently displayed on the shop walls.

Getting a tattoo at a tattoo shop that’s not state-regulated makes you ineligible to donate blood for 3 months.

States that don’t require tattoo shops to be regulated include:

  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Nevada, although state laws are under development
  • New York, although state laws are under development
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

However, some cities or counties within these states may regulate their tattoo shops at the local level.

State-regulated tattoo shops are required to meet certain safety and health standards in order to avoid contaminating their customers’ blood with bloodborne conditions. These standards can’t be guaranteed in unregulated tattoo shops.

You often can’t donate blood for 3 months after getting a piercing, either.

Like tattoos, piercings can introduce foreign material and pathogens into your body. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV can be contracted through blood contaminated by a piercing.

There’s a catch to this rule, too.

Though many states regulate facilities that provide piercing services, there are specific rules regarding eligibility based on the equipment used.

If your piercing was performed with a single-use gun or needle at a state-regulated facility, you should be able to donate blood.

If the gun was reusable — or you’re not absolutely sure that it was single-use — you shouldn’t give any blood until 3 months have passed.

Conditions that affect your blood in some way may make you ineligible to donate blood.

Permanent ineligibility

Conditions that make you permanently ineligible to donate blood to the American Red Cross include:

Having many of these conditions may also make you permanently ineligible to donate to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blood Bank.

Unlike the American Red Cross, the NIH Blood Bank can’t accept donations from people who’ve used bovine insulin to treat diabetes.

However, they do accept donations from some people who’ve had hepatitis. People who had the condition when they were 11 years old or younger are able to donate blood to the NIH Blood Bank.

Temporary ineligibility

According to the American Red Cross, other conditions that may make you ineligible to donate blood, if only temporarily, include:

  • Bleeding conditions. If you have a bleeding condition, you may be eligible to give blood as long as you don’t have any issues with blood clotting and you aren’t taking blood thinners.
  • Blood transfusion. If you’ve received a transfusion from a person in the United States, you’re eligible to donate after a 3-month waiting period.
  • Cancer. Your eligibility depends on the type of cancer you have. Talk with your doctor before donating blood.
  • Dental or oral surgery. You may be eligible 3 days after surgery.
  • Heart attack, heart surgery, or angina. You’re ineligible for at least 6 months after any of these events.
  • Heart murmur. If you have a history of heart murmur, you may be eligible as long as you receive treatment and are able to go at least 6 months without symptoms.
  • High or low blood pressure. You’re ineligible if your blood pressure reading is above 180/100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or below 90/50 mm Hg.
  • Immunizations. Immunization rules vary. You may be eligible 4 weeks after vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, and shingles. You may be eligible 2 weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine, 21 days after a hepatitis B vaccine, and 8 weeks after a smallpox vaccine.
  • Infections. You may be eligible 10 days after ending an antibiotic injection treatment.
  • International travel. Travel to certain countries may make you temporarily ineligible. Talk with your doctor before donating blood.
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use. If you’ve used IV drugs without a prescription, you should wait 3 months before donating blood.
  • Malaria. You may be eligible 3 years after treatment for malaria or 3 months after traveling to a place where malaria is common.
  • Pregnancy. You’re ineligible during pregnancy but may be eligible 6 weeks after giving birth.
  • Syphilis and gonorrhea. You may be eligible 3 months after treatment for these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) ends.
  • Tuberculosis. You may be eligible once the tuberculosis infection is successfully treated.
  • Zika virus. You may be eligible 120 days after you last experienced symptoms of the Zika virus.
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There are minimum requirements for donating blood in the United States. You must:

  • be at least 17 years old (or 16 years old, in some locations, if you have consent from a parent or guardian)
  • weigh at least 110 pounds (49.89 kilograms)
  • not be anemic
  • not have a body temperature over 99.5°F (37.5°C)
  • not be pregnant
  • not have gotten any tattoos or piercings from unregulated facilities in the past 3 months
  • not have any disqualifying medical conditions

Talk with your doctor if you have any doubts about your eligibility to give blood. You may also want to get tested for any conditions or infections if you’ve recently:

  • traveled
  • had sex without using a condom or other barrier method
  • used IV or injectable drugs without a prescription

You can find a donation center near you by searching the internet. Organizations such as the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers have walk-in donation centers that you can visit almost any time.

Many blood banks and donation services, such as the American Red Cross and Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, have traveling blood banks that visit schools, organizations, and other locations that are scheduled in advance.

The American Red Cross website also has pages to help you find blood drives as well as provide you with the resources to host your own. As a host, you only need to:

  • provide a location for the American Red Cross to set up a mobile donation center
  • raise awareness about the drive and get donors from your institution or organization
  • coordinate donation schedules

Before donating

Before you donate blood, follow these tips to prepare your body:

  • Wait at least 8 weeks after your last donation to donate whole blood again.
  • Drink 16 ounces of water or juice.
  • Follow an iron-rich diet consisting of foods such as spinach, red meat, and beans.
  • Avoid a high fat meal right before donating.
  • Don’t take aspirin for at least 2 days before the donation if you plan to donate platelets, too.
  • Avoid high stress activities.

After donating

After you donate blood:

  • Have extra fluids (at least 32 ounces more than usual) for a full day after donating blood.
  • Avoid alcohol for the next 24 hours.
  • Keep the bandage on for a few hours.
  • Avoid working out or doing any strenuous physical activity until the next day.

Getting a tattoo or a piercing doesn’t make you ineligible to donate blood if you wait 3 months or follow the proper precautions to get a safe and sterile tattoo at a regulated facility.

Talk with your doctor if you think you have any other conditions that may make you ineligible to donate blood. They can answer any questions you may have and advise you on your next steps.

Can You Donate Blood If You Have a Tattoo? Plus Other Guidelines for Donation

If you have a tattoo, you can only donate blood if you meet certain criteria. A good rule of thumb is that you may not be able to give blood if your tattoo is less than 3 months old.

This goes for piercings and all other nonmedical injections on your body, too.

Introducing ink, metal, or any other foreign material into your body affects your immune system and may expose you to harmful viruses. This can affect what’s in your bloodstream, especially if you got your tattoo somewhere that isn’t regulated or doesn’t follow safe practices.

If there’s a chance that your blood has been compromised, the donation center won’t be able to use it. Keep reading to learn about the eligibility criteria, where to find a donation center, and more.

Giving blood after recently getting a tattoo can be dangerous. Though uncommon, an unclean tattoo needle can carry a number of bloodborne viruses, such as:

People with new tattoos have traditionally been advised to wait a year before giving blood in order to reduce their risk of unknowingly transmitting these viruses.

However, in April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated their recommendations and proposed a recommended deferral period of 3 months. If you’ve contracted a bloodborne illness, detectable antibodies will likely appear during this 3-month period.

That said, you may be able to donate blood in under 3 months if you got your tattoo at a state-regulated tattoo shop. State-regulated shops are routinely monitored for safe and sterile tattooing practices, so the risk of infection is low.

Some states have opted out of regulation, so don’t hesitate to ask your preferred artist about their qualifications beforehand.

It’s best to work with licensed artists who tattoo in state-regulated shops. Oftentimes, their certifications are prominently displayed on the shop walls.

Getting a tattoo at a tattoo shop that’s not state-regulated makes you ineligible to donate blood for 3 months.

States that don’t require tattoo shops to be regulated include:

  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Nevada, although state laws are under development
  • New York, although state laws are under development
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
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However, some cities or counties within these states may regulate their tattoo shops at the local level.

State-regulated tattoo shops are required to meet certain safety and health standards in order to avoid contaminating their customers’ blood with bloodborne conditions. These standards can’t be guaranteed in unregulated tattoo shops.

You often can’t donate blood for 3 months after getting a piercing, either.

Like tattoos, piercings can introduce foreign material and pathogens into your body. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV can be contracted through blood contaminated by a piercing.

There’s a catch to this rule, too.

Though many states regulate facilities that provide piercing services, there are specific rules regarding eligibility based on the equipment used.

If your piercing was performed with a single-use gun or needle at a state-regulated facility, you should be able to donate blood.

If the gun was reusable — or you’re not absolutely sure that it was single-use — you shouldn’t give any blood until 3 months have passed.

Conditions that affect your blood in some way may make you ineligible to donate blood.

Permanent ineligibility

Conditions that make you permanently ineligible to donate blood to the American Red Cross include:

Having many of these conditions may also make you permanently ineligible to donate to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blood Bank.

Unlike the American Red Cross, the NIH Blood Bank can’t accept donations from people who’ve used bovine insulin to treat diabetes.

However, they do accept donations from some people who’ve had hepatitis. People who had the condition when they were 11 years old or younger are able to donate blood to the NIH Blood Bank.

Temporary ineligibility

According to the American Red Cross, other conditions that may make you ineligible to donate blood, if only temporarily, include:

  • Bleeding conditions. If you have a bleeding condition, you may be eligible to give blood as long as you don’t have any issues with blood clotting and you aren’t taking blood thinners.
  • Blood transfusion. If you’ve received a transfusion from a person in the United States, you’re eligible to donate after a 3-month waiting period.
  • Cancer. Your eligibility depends on the type of cancer you have. Talk with your doctor before donating blood.
  • Dental or oral surgery. You may be eligible 3 days after surgery.
  • Heart attack, heart surgery, or angina. You’re ineligible for at least 6 months after any of these events.
  • Heart murmur. If you have a history of heart murmur, you may be eligible as long as you receive treatment and are able to go at least 6 months without symptoms.
  • High or low blood pressure. You’re ineligible if your blood pressure reading is above 180/100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or below 90/50 mm Hg.
  • Immunizations. Immunization rules vary. You may be eligible 4 weeks after vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, and shingles. You may be eligible 2 weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine, 21 days after a hepatitis B vaccine, and 8 weeks after a smallpox vaccine.
  • Infections. You may be eligible 10 days after ending an antibiotic injection treatment.
  • International travel. Travel to certain countries may make you temporarily ineligible. Talk with your doctor before donating blood.
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use. If you’ve used IV drugs without a prescription, you should wait 3 months before donating blood.
  • Malaria. You may be eligible 3 years after treatment for malaria or 3 months after traveling to a place where malaria is common.
  • Pregnancy. You’re ineligible during pregnancy but may be eligible 6 weeks after giving birth.
  • Syphilis and gonorrhea. You may be eligible 3 months after treatment for these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) ends.
  • Tuberculosis. You may be eligible once the tuberculosis infection is successfully treated.
  • Zika virus. You may be eligible 120 days after you last experienced symptoms of the Zika virus.

There are minimum requirements for donating blood in the United States. You must:

  • be at least 17 years old (or 16 years old, in some locations, if you have consent from a parent or guardian)
  • weigh at least 110 pounds (49.89 kilograms)
  • not be anemic
  • not have a body temperature over 99.5°F (37.5°C)
  • not be pregnant
  • not have gotten any tattoos or piercings from unregulated facilities in the past 3 months
  • not have any disqualifying medical conditions

Talk with your doctor if you have any doubts about your eligibility to give blood. You may also want to get tested for any conditions or infections if you’ve recently:

  • traveled
  • had sex without using a condom or other barrier method
  • used IV or injectable drugs without a prescription

You can find a donation center near you by searching the internet. Organizations such as the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers have walk-in donation centers that you can visit almost any time.

Many blood banks and donation services, such as the American Red Cross and Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, have traveling blood banks that visit schools, organizations, and other locations that are scheduled in advance.

The American Red Cross website also has pages to help you find blood drives as well as provide you with the resources to host your own. As a host, you only need to:

  • provide a location for the American Red Cross to set up a mobile donation center
  • raise awareness about the drive and get donors from your institution or organization
  • coordinate donation schedules

Before donating

Before you donate blood, follow these tips to prepare your body:

  • Wait at least 8 weeks after your last donation to donate whole blood again.
  • Drink 16 ounces of water or juice.
  • Follow an iron-rich diet consisting of foods such as spinach, red meat, and beans.
  • Avoid a high fat meal right before donating.
  • Don’t take aspirin for at least 2 days before the donation if you plan to donate platelets, too.
  • Avoid high stress activities.
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After donating

After you donate blood:

  • Have extra fluids (at least 32 ounces more than usual) for a full day after donating blood.
  • Avoid alcohol for the next 24 hours.
  • Keep the bandage on for a few hours.
  • Avoid working out or doing any strenuous physical activity until the next day.

Getting a tattoo or a piercing doesn’t make you ineligible to donate blood if you wait 3 months or follow the proper precautions to get a safe and sterile tattoo at a regulated facility.

Talk with your doctor if you think you have any other conditions that may make you ineligible to donate blood. They can answer any questions you may have and advise you on your next steps.

Common myths about blood donation

Blood donation myths

Local hospitals, including Sharp hospitals, rely every day on members of the community who give unselfishly of themselves through blood donation to help save the lives of others. Recently, the need for donations has become especially dire.

According to the San Diego Blood Bank, the community’s supply of Type O-negative and Type O-positive has hit critically low levels. Public health officials are issuing an urgent call for blood donations.

A chronic need for blood donations One in 7 people entering the hospital need blood or blood components. That blood is freely given by those who participate in their local blood drives. However, while nearly 40% of Americans are eligible to donate blood, only 5% do so, often because people think that they cannot donate for one reason or another.

If you were told in the past that you cannot donate, the requirements may have changed. It’s a good idea to try again as you may now be able to give. Five common myths about barriers to donating are busted below:

Myth 1: You can’t donate blood if you are on certain medications.

As long as you are healthy and meet all qualifications, medication should not prevent you from donating blood. However, there are a few medications that require a waiting period to donate.

  • Acne medications, such as isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane (wait one month)
  • Blood thinners, such as Coumadin or Lovenox (wait seven days)
  • Propecia, a hair-loss medication (wait one month)

Myth 2: You can’t donate blood if you have certain medical conditions.

Well-managed health conditions, including diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension or asthma, will not interfere with blood donation. However, there are waiting periods for some conditions.

For example, all donors who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having COVID-19, or who have symptoms shared with COVID-19, must wait 10 days from the date the symptoms resolved before donating. Additionally, donors who cared for, lived with or otherwise have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection, must wait 10 days from the last date of exposure.

Individuals who have AIDS, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, hepatitis B or C, or are HIV-positive cannot donate blood.

Myth 3: You can’t donate blood if you have traveled or lived overseas.

Most international travel will not interfere with blood donation. However, there are a few limitations related to outbreaks of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow disease. For example, you cannot donate blood if you spent a cumulative of 3 months or more in any country in the U.K. between Jan. 1, 1980, and Dec. 31, 1996; had a blood transfusion in France or the U.K. between Jan. 1, 1980, and the present; or if you spent a cumulative of 5 years or more from Jan. 1, 1980, through Dec. 31, 2001, in France or Ireland.

You may also be deferred if you spent time in a country with malaria in the last year. A donor specialist can help you make this determination.

Myth 4: You can’t donate blood if you recently got a tattoo or body piercing.

If you received your tattoo at a licensed shop in California, there is no need to wait to donate blood. If your piercing was performed with sterile, single-use needles (common in all piercing shops), there is no need to wait.

Myth 5: You can’t donate blood if you identify as LGBTQ+.

In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed their policy on blood donation from men who have sex with other men from a lifetime ban to a deferral of at least 3 months after last contact. Women who have sex with women, transgender, nonbinary and intersex individuals can donate blood if they meet all general eligibility requirements.

Refer to the San Diego Blood Bank website for more information on medication restrictions, waiting periods and other requirements for blood donation. It is likely that you will be able to donate if you’re 17 or older, in good general health and weigh at least 114 pounds.

The process to donate blood is quick and easy — and can help save a life. When you go to donate, a staff member will walk you through a series of questions to make sure you’re eligible; take your blood pressure, temperature and pulse; and take a blood sample to ensure your blood count is acceptable.

In San Diego, schedule an appointment to donate blood via the San Diego Blood Bank website or by calling 619-400-8251. Walk-ins are welcome.

Source https://www.healthline.com/health/can-you-donate-blood-if-you-have-a-tattoo

Source https://www.healthline.com/health/can-you-donate-blood-if-you-have-a-tattoo

Source https://www.sharp.com/health-news/common-myths-about-blood-donation.cfm

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