Question Re: Blood Donation and Scarlet Fever

I am thinking about becoming a regular blood donor, but every time I bring it up someone tells me I am not eligible to do so because I had scarlet fever as a child. They also say I may run into problems due to my tattoo and eyebrow piercing. I think I can rule out tattoo and eyebrow issues since that seems to be a temporary exclusion and it’s been years. But as far as scarlet fever, google is playing hard-to-get. Surely one of the Teeming Millions knows the answer to this.

Scarlet fever as a child is not a contraindication to being a blood donor as an adult; it’s simply an infection with an otherwise ordinary strain of strep that happens to produce a toxin to which some people are sensitive, giving them the eponymic rash. Functionally it’s no different from any other self-limited group A strep infection long-term.

Here’s a list of blood donor eligibility guidelines: http://www.redcross.org/en/eligibility

Perhaps your acquaintances are confusing scarlet fever with rheumatic fever. People who have had rheumatic fever can have long-term sequelae which might create constraints around blood donation. However even a history of rheumatic fever is not, by itself, a contraindication to donating blood.

Thanks Chief!

FYI tattoos used to be a year but the last time I asked (when I said “I haven’t been in a year because I got a tattoo”) the nurse checking me in said it’s only 6 months if the tattoo (or piercing) was done in a certified facility.

Looking at the chart, I see it varies from state to state, tho:

My dad had malaria in 1970 and we thought he’d never be able to donate, but even that sort of history is acceptable now.

Good for you for becoming a regular donor, btw. It’s a great feeling!!!

You will also be asked the same fifty or so questions every time you give blood. If there is anything that might make you inelegible, they will ask you about it.