Got a tattoo or piercing recently? Can't donate blood

It is strange to think that an act that can save a life can be done in under an hour, and that too on your way to work or a concert. Yes, blood donation is the least time consuming and not at all invasive procedure. However, not many undertake this act of kindness despite being in perfectly good health.

There are some, who are also forbidden to donate blood, and therefore cannot do so, despite their willingness. On World Blood Donor Day, here’s a low-down of the reasons for which you may not be allowed to donate blood.

Untitled design - 2022-06-14T104828.833Agencies

Dr Ravindra Gupta, Department of Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Your Age

Dr Ravindra Gupta, Department of Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram says that a blood donor should be within the age bracket of 18 -65 years. While minors cannot donate blood because they have not reached the legal age to give their consent, in case of seniors the issue is slightly more complicated.

“While there is no upper age limit for blood donation, in the case of elderlies there are a lot of factors that come into play. With age the immunity of an individual is automatically on the decline. Also, many seniors suffer weight loss, and have other ailments that put their health at risk. To introduce another risk factor by allowing them to donate blood is not prudent,” says Dr. Gupta.

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Your Weight

The donor should not be underweight and should weigh at least 45 kg to be eligible. So anyone who doesn’t have the right BMI (body mass index) is not allowed to donate blood, explains Dr Gupta.

“The reason why underweight individuals are not allowed to donate is simple. Blood volume is always in proportion to body weight. Therefore, when a person weighs less than 45 kg, he/she may have issues on removal of the required volume of blood and their bodies may not cope with the removal as well as individuals with normal weight do,” says the doctor.

Fever, Cold & Cough

“If you have any physical ailment and your symptoms involve fever, cold and cough then you should refrain from blood donation,” explains Dr Gupta.

If you have just recovered from Covid, or have Covid like symptoms, you should hold off donating blood and speak to a doctor before doing so. Ideally a donor should wait at least 14 days after testing positive for COVID-19 without symptoms or for at least 14 days after symptoms of COVID-19 have gone to consider blood donation.

Low Haemoglobin

A person must not donate blood if they do not meet the minimum haemoglobin level for blood donation. “The threshold is a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males,” explains the doctor

New Tattoo & Piercing

If you have got a new tattoo or piercing it is advisable to wait for at least some months before donating blood. Both tattoo-ing and piercing is done by needles which if not cleaned properly can cause infections. Therefore, such donors can unknowingly transfer blood with infection which may complicate things further for the recipient. To avoid such an occurrence, those with new tattoos and piercings are often turned away from blood camps.

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