Blood Donations...screwy rules?

OK I was reading the guidelines for blood donations on the Red Cross website. I have been a long time doner and supporter of the Red Cross. Unfortunately I also like tattoos, which makes me ineligable to donate for 12 months after.

So my question is this…If they will accept blood from people that have had body peircings, why not tattoos? There is no restriction on sterile piercings but there are on tattoos.Most of the tattoo parlors I have been in are as clean as alot of doctors offices and they always use NEW needles and sterilize thier other instruments.

The way I heard it, the only tattoos which are OK are ones administered in the hospital. That way they know for absolutely sure that it was sterile.

There may be something to the idea that tattoo parlors are considered a little bit seedy and they are being super-cautious. Plus a tattoo is a little more involved in terms of punctures, etc., and may have more of a risk involved.

They don’t have much choice on the body piercings issue. About half the population has their ears pierced, and they can’t exclude that big of a group.

They are perfectly happy to take blood from people with tattoos. They just need to be more than one year old.

I think the limit for piercings is six months.

I don’t think parents should let kids that young get tattoos anyway.

awwwww…why NOT? Start 'em young I say

Kim “bird bird bird…bird is da word”

Things we learned in EMT school:

Pierceings: one hole, one needle, one time

Tattoos: lotsa holes, several needles, different colors, lots and lots and lots of skin punctures, many times

The risk of infection increases each time.

Don’t get me wrong…I dig chicks with tattoos. And there is a special place in Heaven for blood donors.

But please don’t get upset when you can’t donate due to “body art”. Just ask about other ways to help. You won’t believe how much we appreciate you.

Buck The Diver <—has no extraneous holes in his body

My roommate (who has a couple tattoos herself) told me that when she asked why she couldn’t donate, the Red Cross said something about possible allergic reactions in the recipients due to dyes in the blood. I’m assuming that the level of dye in the blood is much reduced after a year.

From this page, information written by an ARC worker, the problem isn’t so much allergies as the risk of transferring an infection.

I can back that up in two ways. First, I had to quit donating for a few years because I have tattoos; I asked why, and the answer given was “the risk of infection”. Second, I’ve done some work with the Red Cross blood bank here in Australia, so I know there weren’t any hidden reasons. Completely unofficially, the RN I asked said hepatitis was a bigger risk than HIV.

back in 1993, I was not allowed to donate blood because I had a (somewhat recently) pierced eyebrow - was this a mistake on the volunteer’s part, or have they changed their policy as of late?

I second tavalla - here in Australia, it’s all related to infection control. There are a lot of unlicensed tattooists around who aren’t practising universal precautions. At a pragmatic level, it’s far easier for the Red Cross to put in place blanket prohibitions than it is for them to try and establish whether a particular donor’s tattoo/piercing was given under ideal, sterile conditions.

Here, at least, the various Hepatitises are the primary concern - they are much more transmissible through procedures such as tattooing and piercing than the more high-profile viruses such as HIV. Here, at least, many of the restrictions which used to apply in respect of people perceived to be at risk of HIV have now been lifted. My son is now a regular blood donor - a few years ago, he was an excluded donor simply because his father died of AIDS.

As about other ways in which you can help during the period when you are excluded from donating - there are very many, and they are all very much appreciated and valued.