I am planning on donating blood next week, for the first time ever. What are some of their requirements? All I found out on the Red Cross site is that I have to be over 17 and in “good general health.” I also know you can’t have had a tattoo within the past year. What else is there?
What about if I am taking regular medications? What about if I take an OTC sinus medication for my cold within 24 hours? What if I have had sex recently? How about alcohol?
I hear you have to fill out a form, but of course people might lie. So do they take extra special precautions to test everything before putting it into someone else? Do they worry about it less during a national emergency like this?
Yes, Zipper, they test the blood before they put it into someone. They will also give you a special “Do Not Use This Blood” sticker that you can give them privately, and they will put it on your blood donation, and trash it later. This is because they know a lot of people get pressured into giving blood at blood drives, when they know that they really shouldn’t, like they might be carrying HIV. But the donor doesn’t want people to know this, so he goes ahead and lies, and gives blood. He can then quietly put the special “Do Not Use” sticker on there afterwards.
But they do test the blood–they don’t just take people’s word for it.
This is, generally, not true. No more blood is needed this second but blood will be needed desperately within the next few weeks. People who haven’t already donated (and are eligible) should start coming in between next week and eight weeks from now.