Our frequently asked questions are listed below to help you learn more about giving blood or otherwise take our eligibility quiz.
If any queries or questions arise in your mind please call our low-call number on 1850 731 137.
Acupuncture - I have just had acupuncture. Can I give blood?
Yes, you can be accepted to give blood while having acupuncture provided the acupuncture has been performed by:
a) a Medical Practitioner registered with the Irish Medical Council
b) by a registered General Nurse registered with An Bord Altranais working for a Medical Practitioner registered with the Irish Medical Council or
c) by a Chartered Physiotherapist registered with the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.
Age - How does my age affect my ability to give blood?
You must be 18 or over and under 65 to give blood for the first time.
If you are aged between 65 and 70 years (up to, but not including your 70th birthday) and you have donated in the last 10 years, you can give blood.
In selected cases, you can give blood if you are 70 years or over (you must have donated in the last two years and have a Medical Certificate from your GP).
Antibiotics - I am taking antibiotics. Can I give blood?
If you are taking antibiotics for an infection:
No, you cannot give blood today. You must be fully recovered for at least 2 weeks before you can give blood. You must also have finished your course of antibiotics at least 1 week before giving blood.
If you are taking antibiotics for acne:
Yes, you can give blood if you are taking tetracycline or erythromycin for acne.
If you are taking antibiotics to prevent an infection:
No, you cannot give blood if you are prone to infections and you are taking antibiotics on a continuous basis, to prevent infection.
Blood Pressure - I take high blood pressure medication. Can I give blood?
Yes you can give blood if you have high blood pressure provided it is well controlled and that your medication has not been changed in the last 4 weeks and you have never had any complications due to high blood pressure.
Childbirth - What happens if I’m pregnant or have recently given birth?
You cannot give blood while pregnant and will be deferred for 12 months after giving birth.
Cholesterol- I take medication for cholesterol reduction. Can I give blood?
Yes, you will be able to give blood; cholesterol-lowering medication does not affect your eligibility.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I have / have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.Can I give blood?
No you cannot give blood if you currently have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or if you have had it in the past.
CFS is also knows as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome. Prior to early August 2010 donors who had a history of CFS/ME could give blood, provided that they had completely recovered and were feeling well. On 9th August 2010, we introduced a permanent exclusion for donors who have ever had CFS/ME even if they had fully recovered. We changed the guidelines because:
CFS/ME is a condition where people can relapse and become ill again. We were concerned that there was a theoretical risk (i.e. a very small risk) that donating blood could make symptoms worse or provoke a relapse.
Scientists have recently identified a possible link between CFS/ME and a virus called XMRV. A lot of research is being done in this area at present, and the results are conflicting. Some studies have found no link between CFS/ME and XMRV. Even if further research proves that there is a definite link between CFS/ME and XMRV, this does not mean that the virus causes the disease.
Despite the fact that the link has not been proven, we took the decision to change our guidelines, as a precautionary measure, to protect blood recipients (i.e. patients who receive blood) until more is known about XMRV.
We will keep abreast of developments in this area and will review our guidelines if further data become available.
Cold sores - I have a cold sore, Can I give blood?
If this is your first ever cold sore, you cannot give blood at present. You must wait until you are well and have no symptoms and the sore is fully healed. If you have had a cold sore before, you can donate as long as you are well, the sores are healing (i.e. scabbing over and there is no tingling) and there is no infection (signs of which may include redness and / or oozing).
Colds - I have a cold. Can I give blood?
No, you will not be accepted until you have recovered and are feeling well.
Endoscopy - I had an endoscopy (scope), can I give blood?
No, you cannot give blood for a minimum of 4 months after you have had an examination with a flexible endoscopy (telescopic camera). If more than 4 months have elapsed since your endoscopy, you can donate blood provided that you are well, you are not waiting for further tests or results and you do not require medication.
If you are taking medication, please contact us on 1850 731 137 so that we can advise you if you can give blood. If a condition was diagnosed, please check under the relevant condition, or phone us to advise you.
Fractures/Injuries - I have a plaster cast on my arm/leg following an accident. Can I give blood?
No. You cannot give blood if you have a plaster cast on your arm/leg after an accident. You must wait until the plaster cast is removed, you have fully recovered from your injury and are discharged from medical care. You must also wait until you no longer require the use of crutches.
Investigations - I attended hospital last week for x-rays and blood tests. Can I give blood?
You cannot give blood while you are awaiting results of recent investigations. You must wait until the results of the tests/investigations are available and you have been given a clean bill of health by your GP/hospital consultant or a condition has been diagnosed. You must not give blood if you are unwell, or you are waiting to see a hospital consultant or specialist or are waiting for further tests or results.
If a diagnosis has been made, please check under the relevant condition or phone us so that we can advise if you can give blood.
Medications - What prescribed medications will defer someone from giving blood?
Please contact us on 1850 731 137 to discuss your specific issue with medication.
M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)I have / have had M.E. Can I give blood?
Please see Chronic Fatigue Syndrome above.
Piercing - I have just had a piercing. Can I give blood?
No. You will be deferred for 4 months after a piercing.
Surgery Minor - I had my appendix removed due to appendicitis. How long do I have to wait to give blood?
You must wait at least 2 months before you give blood. You must be fully recovered after your operation, the stitches removed and the wound fully healed before you give blood. You must be discharged from follow-up and not waiting for any further tests or results.
Surgery major - I had knee replacement surgery one month ago for osteoarthritis. How long do I have to wait before I can give blood?
You must wait 6 months after your surgery, before you can give blood. You must be fully recovered from your operation and discharged from hospital care. You must not have had a blood transfusion during or after your surgery.
Tattoo - I just got a tattoo. Can I give blood?
No, you will be deferred for 4 months after getting a tattoo even if removed by laser treatment during that time.
I have had a blood transfusion, Can I give blood?
You will be permanently deferred if:
- You have had a blood transfusion outside of Ireland at any time.
- You have had a blood transfusion in Ireland after 1st January 1980.
- You have received intravenous immunoglobulin (this is a blood product administered to people with acute infections, immune deficiencies and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases) in the United Kingdom on or after 1st January 1980.
- You will be accepted if you had an autologous transfusion (a transfusion of your own blood) in or outside the Republic of Ireland and it has been one year since the transfusion.
You will be deferred for one year if:
- You have received Anti-D Ig (this is an injection you may receive while pregnant-see your GP for more information) in or outside the Republic of Ireland.
- You have received intravenous immunoglobulin (this is a blood product administered to people with acute infections, immune deficiencies and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases) in or outside the Republic of Ireland, this excludes the United Kingdom.
Travel - I have travelled outside of Ireland. Can I still give blood?
Travelling outside of Ireland can affect your ability to give blood.
- If you have been to a malarial area, you will be deferred for 12 months.
- If you have been to a tropical area, you will be deferred for 3 months.
- If you have been to an area with West Nile Virus, you will be deferred for 28 days.
For all other travel queries please call 1850 731 137.
Vaccination - How long after a vaccination Can I give blood?
The table below gives guidelines as to how long you have to wait after a particular vaccine.
|Anthrax||48 hours if well|
|BCG||8 weeks and until healed|
|Botulism||48 hours if well|
|Cholera||48 hours if well|
|Diphtheria||48 hours if well|
|Influenza||48 hours if well|
|Hepatitis A||48 hours if well and no exposure.|
|Hepatitis B||7 days, 6 months if vaccine was received post exposure, e.g.: human bite, blood splash, or needle stick injury.|
|HPV (Human Papillomavirus)||48 hours if well|
|Japanese Encephalitis||48 hours if well|
|Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)||8 weeks|
|Meningococcal Meningitis||48 hours if well|
|Pneumococcal||48 hours if well|
|Rabies||48 hours, post exposure i.e. history of animal bites, one year deferral.|
|Tetanus||48 hours if well|
48 hours if well
1 year if post-exposure
|Tuberculin||Await test results|
|Typhoid (oral)||8 weeks|
|Typhoid (injection)||48 hours if well|
|Varicella (Chicken Pox)||8 weeks|
|Yellow fever||8 weeks|