You are here: Home > Become a Donor > Give Blood > FAQs

FAQs

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.

Anxiety – I am being treated for anxiety.  Can I donate?

Many people with mild or stable anxiety will be able to give blood, even if they are taking medication as long as they are well on the day of donation and are well established on their treatment and have no side effects from the medication.

If you are moderately or severely anxious or have not improved on your treatment, we may ask you to wait for three to six months, until you are feeling better before donating.

If you are on medication and would like to discuss this with us, please contact us on 1850 731 137 and ask to speak with a doctor or nurse. 

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 generally diagnosed by excluding other conditions and may follow an infection that may or may not have been viral and which may be carried by the affected individual. It is most common between the ages of 25 and 45 years and women are affected more often than men. It is associated with easily induced and prolonged episodes of fatigue often accompanied by other symptoms. The condition is relapsing by nature and donation may make symptoms worse, or provoke a relapse in an affected individual.

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.

Depression – I am being treated for depression. Can I donate?

Many people with mild or stable depression on treatment will be able to give blood donations. Taking an antidepressant is generally not a cause for deferral as long as you are fit and well on the day of donation, are well established on your treatment – at least 4 weeks or more - and have no side effects from the medication.

If you are moderately or severely unwell with depression, or have not improved on your treatment, or are taking a number of types of medication, we may ask you to wait for three to six months before donating.

If you have Bipolar Illness (manic-depression) and are taking Lithium or other medication at present, or have needed medication in the past, you may not donate.

If you are on medication and would like to discuss this with us, please contact us on 1850 731 137 and ask to speak with a doctor or nurse. 

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.

Pregnancy

You may not donate while you are pregnant or for 1 year following a miscarriage or following the birth of a baby. During pregnancy, a woman loses a considerable amount of iron to the baby. We do not accept donors while they are breast feeding.

Sunburn - Can I give blood if I have sunburn?

Sunburn causes dehydration which increases the risk of fainting after donating blood. Please do not donate if you are sunburnt or if you are in pain or taking painkillers for sunburn. 

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 (WNV), you will be deferred for 28 days. As and from 30th August 2013, when testing becomes available, you may donate on your return from a WNV area.

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.

Anthrax48 hours if well
BCG8 weeks and until healed
Botulism48 hours if well
Cholera48 hours if well
Diphtheria48 hours if well
Influenza48 hours if well
Hepatitis A48 hours if well and no exposure.
Hepatitis B4 weeks, 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 Encephalitis48 hours if well
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)8 weeks
Meningococcal Meningitis48 hours if well
Mumps8 weeks
Pneumococcal48 hours if well
Polio8 weeks
Rabies48 hours, post exposure i.e. history of animal bites, one year deferral.
Rubella8 weeks
Smallpox8 weeks
Tetanus48 hours if well
Tick-borne Encephalitis48 hours if well, 1 year if post-exposure
TuberculinAwait test results
Typhoid (oral)8 weeks
Typhoid (injection)48 hours if well
Varicella (Chicken Pox)8 weeks
Yellow fever8 weeks

 Weight

No more than 13% of the estimated blood volume should be taken during one blood donation, therefore the minimal acceptable weight of a donor is 50 kgs (7st 12lbs) The maximum acceptable weight on mobile clinic beds is 130kgs (20st 6lbs).

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930