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You may have a lot of questions about what it takes to save lives with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, and we’ve done our best to answer some of the questions we get most here in 3 steps.  

You can also stop by one of our Neighborhood Donor Centers or a mobile drive. Our phlebotomists are always ready and willing to help.

 

Step 1: General Health Considerations

A donor is deferred when they don’t meet one or more eligibility criteria. It’s how long they must wait before being considered for donation again. For example, when you get a tattoo, you’ll be deferred for a week. That means you can donate blood one week after it was done.   

Or you may receive an indefinite deferral, where you aren't able to donate blood unless federal regulations change in the future. We understand this isn’t what you want to hear, but you can still help us save lives. Follow us on social media and emphasize the importance of donating blood and/or volunteer to help us recruit donors.   

Note: One of the most common reasons a donor is deferred is because of low iron. Learn more here.   

  • Wait if you have a fever or a productive cough (bringing up phlegm).
  • Wait if you do not feel well on the day of donation. 
  • Wait until you have completed antibiotic treatment for sinus, throat or lung infection.     

Acceptable as long as you feel well, have no fever,  have no problems breathing through your mouth , and symptoms are not due to an infection.  

You are not eligible to donate if your are pregnant. You must wait 6 weeks until after the end of your pregnancy.

Did you recently have an abortion or termination of pregnancy?

You can donate six weeks after the procedure.

Did you recently have a miscarriage?

You can donate six weeks after the procedure.

Are you currently taking fertility drugs?

You can donate.

 

You can donate one week after getting a tattoo (single-use dye/equipment), acupuncture (licensed practitioner), ear piercing (sterile gun), and all other body part piercings if applied in a state-licensed* facility.  

You can donate after three months if any of the above procedures was applied by yourself, an unlicensed individual or a facility that is not state-licensed.  

*Must be a licensed facility in one of the following states:  

  • Alabama · Hawaii · Maine · Nebraska · Oklahoma · Texas  
  • Alaska · Illinois · Michigan · New Hampshire · Oregon · Vermont  
  • California · Indiana · Minnesota · New Jersey · Rhode Island · Virginia  
  • Colorado · Kansas · Mississippi · New Mexico · South Carolina · Washington  
  • Delaware · Kentucky · Missouri · North Dakota · South Dakota · West Virginia  
  • Florida · Louisiana · Montana · Ohio · Tennessee · Wisconsin 

You can donate as long as the instruments used were single-use equipment and disposable (which means both the gun and the earring cassette were disposable). You must wait 3 months if the piercing was performed using a reusable gun or any reusable instrument, or if there is any question as to whether or not the instruments used were single-use equipment.

This list is NOT a complete list of countries, but it includes the most visited countries.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials announced changes in April 2020 that affect donor eligibility. The deferral period for people who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas has been shortened from a year to three months. (Travel is defined as a stay greater than 24 hours.) 

A three-year deferral is in place for donors who lived 5 years or more consecutively in a malaria endemic risk area. 

If the country you have visited is not listed, you may call (713) 791-6612 or (713) 791-6608 or email Medical Services.  

LOCATION  

COMMENTS  

Africa  

Algeria: You can donate  

Botswana (Gaborone): You can donate  

Botswana (all other areas for more than 24 hours): You can donate three months after you return  

Kenya: You can donate three months after you return  

Nigeria: You can donate three months after you return  

South Africa - If you traveled to large cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth: You can donate  

South Africa - If you traveled Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Middelburg, Pretoria, Kimberley Bloemfontein, Welkom, Klerksdorp, and Queenstown: You can donate three months after you return. 

Tanzania: You can donate three months after you return  

Uganda: You can donate three months after you return  

Argentina  

You can donate  

Azerbaijan  

You can donate  

Belize  

You can donate  

Caribbean  

Individuals who donate and traveled to this region during the two weeks before donation are asked to call Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center if they develop unexplained post-donation illness with symptoms consistent with acute tropical infections, including fever, joint pain, headache and rash.

Bahamas: You can donate  

Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo): You can donate  

Dominican Republic (All other areas for more than 24 hours): You can donate three months after you return  

Honduras (San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa): You can donate  

Honduras (All other areas or Island of Roatan for more than 24 hours): You can donate three months after you return  

Cruises visiting a port located in a malaria-risk area for less than 24 hours: You can donate  

Colombia  

Bogotá, Cartagena and Medellin: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Costa Rica  

You can donate  

Ecuador  

Large cities in central highlands (Quito, Ambato, Guayaquil, Cuenca) and Galapagos Islands: You can donate  

El Salvador  

You can donate  

Europe  

Indefinite deferral if you traveled or lived in the United Kingdom, for three months between 1980 and 1996, or Ireland and France for 5 years or more, between 1980 and 2001. 

You can donate if you have traveled or lived for a total of five years or more in any other European country from 1980 to the present. 

French Guiana  

Cayenne City: You can donate 

All other areas: You can donate three months after you return. 

Guatemala  

Large cities including Antigua, Guatemala City, and around Lake Atitlan: You can donate. All others, wait at least three months to donate. 

India  

You can donate three months after you return  

Indonesia  

Large cities of Jakarta and Ubud, and resorts of Bali, Java, Gili Islands and the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu): You can donate  

Travel to rural areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Mexico  

You can donate three months after you return from Chiapas or Chihuahua. 

Nicaragua  

 Managua, Leon, Chinandega, Esteli, Masaya and Granada: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Panama  

Provinces of Cocle, Chiriqui, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama Oeste and the cities of Panama City, David, Santiago and Balboa: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Peru  

Lima, Arequipa, Ica, Moquegua, Nazca, Puno and Tacna; the highland tourist areas of Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca or along the Pacific Coast: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Philippines  

Large cities, such as Manila: You can donate  

Rural areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Saudi Arabia  

Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Riyadh and Ta’if: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

South Korea  

Seoul, Pusan, Inch'eon, Chonju, Kunsan, Taegu, Teajon, Kwangju, Oktori, Teojon and other cities SOUTH of Seoul: You can donate  

Areas north of Seoul and along the DMZ/border of North Korea: You can donate two years after you return  

Singapore  

You can donate  

Venezuela  

You can donate three months after you return  

Vietnam  

Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, the Mekong Delta and the Red River Delta: You can donate  

All other areas for more than 24 hours: You can donate three months after you return  

Step 2: Medication & Vaccination

  • If you have COVID-19 or a positive test for COVID-19, you must wait 10 days and be asymptomatic prior to donating. 
  • Donation is safe if you have been given any of these vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Novavax.). If you are participating in a clinical trial, and the protocol asks you not to donate blood for a period of time, you should follow those instructions. 
  • If you have recently received a shot, vaccination, or other immunization, please consult the following list to determine if you can donate.

    SHOT/VACCINATION 

    COMMENTS 

    Allergy shot 

    You can donate 

    Botox injection 

    You can donate two days after your injection 

    Chickenpox (varicella-zoster) vaccination 

    You can donate four weeks after your vaccination 

    COVID-19 vaccine 

    Yes, if you have received an Inactivated COVID vaccine and you are not feeling any side effects (such as fever, malaise, cold/flu-like symptoms), you can donate blood without a mandatory waiting period.  If you received a Live Attenuated Vaccine for COVID, please wait 14 days before attempting to donate.  If you are unsure which you received, the facility where you received your vaccine will be able to give you this information.

    Flu shot (including H1N1) or FluMist 

    You can donate 

    Gamma Globulin – HBIG (exposure to hepatitis) 

    You can donate one year after your injection 

    Gardasil (human papillomavirus) 

    You can donate 

    Havrix (hepatitis A vaccine) 

    You can donate four weeks after your vaccination 

    Heptavax (hepatitis B vaccine) 

    You can donate four weeks after your vaccination 

    Meningitis 

    You can donate 

    Monkeypox

    Those who are concerned about possible exposure to Monkeypox should delay from donating blood for a period of three weeks after that possible exposure. 

    Novocaine 

    You can donate 

    Polio (injection)

    You can donate 

    Pneumonia vaccination 

    You can donate 

    Rabies (animal bite) 

    You can donate

    Routine TB test 

    You can donate 

    Shingles vaccination 

    Zostavax: You can donate four weeks after your donation  

    Shingrix: You can donate. 

    Steroid injection (joint) 

    You can donate if given for pain or inflammation. There is no deferral for steroid injections in the joint. You can donate after one month if given for infection.

    Steroid injection (intramuscular) 

    You can donate

    TB test for exposure 

    You can donate after three days or until the test has been read 

    Tetanus Booster 

    You can donate 

     

  • In most cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. Your eligibility is usually based on the reason that the medication was prescribed. As long as the condition is under control and you are healthy and feeling well, blood donation is usually permitted. 
  • Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements are acceptable. 

Avodart (dutasteride) was approved on October 10, 2002, and became available for prescription in December 2002. Like Proscar (finasteride), it is for the treatment of symptomatic benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) in men. However, it is considerably more potent. You must wait 6 months after your last dose before you can donate.

Consult this list for any medications you are currently taking and read the comments for that medication. Do not stop taking medication prescribed by your physician in order to donate blood.  

Haga clic aquí para ver una lista de aplazamiento de medicamentos.

Medications

Comments 

Accutane, Amnesteem, Absorica, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret, Zenatane (Isoretinoin)

Cannot donate or must wait one month from last dose

Anxiety medication

You can donate

Antibiotics

You can donate two days after your last dose

Antibiotics for acne or preventative for urinary tract infection/gum disease

You can donate

Anticonvulsant

You can donate if no seizures for 6 months

Antidepressants

You can donate

Analgesics - Aspirin, Pain Relievers

If medication does not contain aspirin, you may donate. If the medication contains aspirin, you can donate whole blood or plasma; wait three days after last dose to donate platelets.

Antacids - (i.e., Tums, Prilosec)

You can donate

Asthma medication (no attack requiring ER visit in past 30 days)

You can donate

Anticoagulants or "blood thinners" (usually to prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs and to prevent strokes)

Arixtra (fondaparinux)

2 days 

Eliquis (apixaban)

2 days

Fragmin (dalteparin)

2 days

Lovenox (enoxaparin)

2 days

Pradaxa (dabigatran)

2 days

Savaysa (edoxaban)

2 days

Xarelto (rivaroxaban)

2 days 

Coumadin, Warfilone, Jantoven (warfarin)

7 days

Heparin, low molecular weight heparin

7 days 

 

Anti-Fungal for localized  infection of skin/nails/vagina

You can donate

Anti-Histamine (no or mild symptoms)

You can donate

Anti-platelet agents (usually taken to prevent stroke or heart attack)

Can donate non-platelet donations

Feldene (piroxicam) 

2 days 

Effient (prasugrel) 

3 days 

Brilinta (ticagrelor) 

7 days 

Plavix (clopidogrel) 

14 days 

Ticlid (ticlopidine)

14 days 

Zontivity (vorapaxar)

1 month 

Aubagio (teriflunomide) for relapsing multiple sclerosis

24 months

Erivedge (vismodegib), Odomzo (sonidegib) for nasal cell skin cancer

24 months from the last dose 

Birth control pills

You can donate

CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) - Immunosuppressant 

6 weeks from last dose

Cholesterol medication

You can donate

Decongestant (no symptoms)

You can donate

Diet pill

You can donate

Diuretic

You can donate unless taking it for Congestive Heart Failure, then Indefinite Deferral

Experimental Medication or Unlicensed (Experimental) Vaccine 

12 months

Female hormones

You can donate

Finasteride (Proscar/Propecia)

One month from last dose

Growth hormones from human pituitary glands

You cannot donate

Gardasil (Human Papilloma Virus)

You can donate

Hepatitis B Immune Globulin

12 months

Hepatitis B or C 

Cannot donate at any time 

Insulin (U.S. licensed)

You can donate

Insulin (beef/bovine) manufactured in the United Kingdom

Cannot donate at any time

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) - Truvada, Descovy, Tivicay, Isentress (tenofovir, emtricitabine dolutegravir, raltegravir)

3 months - as of July 9, 2020

HIV treatment is also known as antiretroviral therapy (ART)

Cannot donate at any time

Propecia (finasteride)

Cannot donate or must wait one month from last dose

Prostate symptoms

Proscar (finasteride)

Cannot donate or must wait one month from last dose

Dutasteride (Avodart, Jalyn)

Cannot donate or must wait six months from last dose

   

Psoriasis

Soriatane (acitretin)

36 months 

Tegison (etretinate)

Cannot donate at any time

Rheumatoid arthritis

Arava (leflunomide)

24 months 

Rinvoq (upadacitinib)

1 month as of July 9, 2020

Sleeping pill

You can donate

Steroids

Oral Steroid

You can donate 

Topical Steroid 

You can donate 

 

Thalomid (thalidomide) for multiple myeloma

1 month 

Thyroid medication

You can donate

Tranquilizers

You can donate

Vitamins/ Herbal Supplements

You can donate

Please consult the following list to determine if you can donate.

AILMENT OR ILLNESS 

COMMENTS 

Diabetesfeeling well and healthy 

You can donate 

Diabetes—symptomatic

You can donate 30 days after your symptoms resolve

Diarrhea 

You can donate two days after your symptoms are resolve

Eczemano infected lesions 

You can donate 

Headache - Severe Migraine 

You can donate one day after your headache resolves

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (having abdominal discomfort) 

You can donate two days after symptoms resolve

Psoriasis 

You can donate 

Psoriasistaking Acitretin, SoriataneStelara or Tegison 

You cannot donate 

Pneumonia 

You can donate 30 days after you recover 

Poison Ivy (no lesions in venipuncture area) 

You can donate 

Ringworm (no lesions in venipuncture area) 

You can donate 

Stroke

You can donate if it has been more than six months since the stroke, no new symptoms or procedures, and your condition is stable. 

Thyroid - Hypo/Hyper - controlled with medication 

You can donate 

Ulcerative Colitis

You can donate 

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) 

You can donate two days after treatment is finished and no symptoms

Epilepsy 

Can donate if no seizures in the past six months

Consult the list below to determine if you can donate.  

CIRCULATION OR HEART RELATED DISORDER 

COMMENTS 

High blood pressure (controlled) 

You can donate 

All heart conditions/surgery/angioplasty and heart attacks that have associated chest pain 

Please contact Medical Services 
(713) 791-6608 

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)Stable with no chest pain in past six months 

You can donate 

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)Unstable or chest pains within the past six months

Cannot donate

Arrhythmia—No pain/no medication or controlled by medication 

You can donate 

Step 3: Medical Condition & Treatment

Acceptable as long as it's controlled and no attack in the last 30 days requiring an ER visit. Medications for asthma do not disqualify you from donating 

If you have a history of bleeding problems, you will be asked additional questions. If your blood does not clot normally, you should not donate since you may have excessive bleeding where the needle was placed. For the same reason, you should not donate if you are taking any "blood thinner" such as: 

  • Arixtra (fondaparinux) 
  • Coumadin (warfarin) 
  • Eliquis (apixaban) 
  • Fragmin (dalteparin) 
  • Heparin 
  • Jantoven (warfarin)  
  • Lovenox (enoxaparin) 
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran) 
  • Savaysa (edoxaban) 
  • Warfilone (warfarin) 
  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban) 

If you are on aspirin, it is OK to donate whole blood. However, you must be off of aspirin for at least 2 full days in order to donate platelets by apheresis.  For example, if you take aspirin products on Monday, the soonest you may donate platelets is Thursday. Donors with a clotting disorder from Factor V  Leidenwho are not on anticoagulants are eligible to donate; however, all others must be evaluated by the health historian at the collection center. 

  • High Blood Pressure - Acceptable as long as your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating. 
  • Low Blood Pressure - Acceptable as long as you feel well when you come to donate, and your blood pressure is at least 90/50 (systolic/diastolic). 
  • Acceptable as long as your pulse is no more than 100 and no less than 50.  A pulse that is regular and less than 50 will require evaluation by the physician. Athletics pulse between 40 and 49 may be acceptable with medical approval 
  • Eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. If you had leukemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkin’s Disease and other cancers of the blood, you are not eligible to donate. Other types of cancer are acceptable if the cancer has been treated successfully and it has been more than 12 months since treatment was completed and there has been no cancer recurrence in this time. Lower risk in-situ cancers including squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin that have been completely removed and healed do not require a 12-month waiting period. 
  • Precancerous conditions of the uterine cervix do not disqualify you from donation if the abnormality has been treated successfully. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation. 

Most chronic illnesses are acceptable as long as you feel well, you are not taking any medications on the deferral list, the condition is under control, and you meet all other eligibility requirements. 

Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate. Non-U.S. Licensed or Non-U.S. bovine (beef) insulin has an indefinite deferral. 

In general, acceptable as long as you have been medically evaluated and treated, have no current (within the last 6 months) heart related symptoms such as chest pain and have no limitations or restrictions on your normal daily activities. 

  • Wait at least 6 months following an episode of angina. 
  • Wait at least 6 months following a heart attack. 
  • Wait at least 6 months after bypass surgery or angioplasty. 
  • Wait at least 6 months if there was a change in your heart condition that resulted in a change to your medications 

If you have a pacemaker, you may donate as long as it has been 6 months since the pacemaker was inserted, your pulse is between 50 and 100 beats per minute, and you meet the other heart disease criteria. You should discuss your particular situation with your personal healthcare provider and the health historian at the time of donation. 

Acceptable if you have a heart murmur as long as you have been medically evaluated and treated and have not had symptoms in the last 6 months and have no restrictions on your normal daily activities. 

If you have signs or symptoms of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) caused by a virus, or unexplained jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin), you are not eligible to donate blood. If you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, at any age, you are not eligible to donate, even if you were never sick or jaundiced from the infection. 

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV. 

You are at risk for getting infected if you: 

  • have used needles to take any drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor in the last 3 months 
  • are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, in the last 3 months 
  • have taken money, drugs or other payment for sex in the last 3 months 
  • have had sexual contact in the past 3 months with anyone described above 

You should not give blood if you have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS: 

  • Fever 
  • Enlarged lymph glands 
  • Sore throat 
  • Rash 

Donors who have undergone acupuncture treatments are acceptable if the procedure was performed in a licensed facility. 

Wait for 3 months after receiving a blood transfusion from another person in the United States. 

Acceptable after dental procedures as long as there is no infection present. Wait until finishing antibiotics for a dental infection. Wait for 3 days after having oral surgery. 

Women on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis are eligible to donate. 

  • Wait 3 months after receiving any type of organ transplant from another person. If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant, you are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about the brain disease, Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD). 
  • If you ever received a transplant of animal organs or of living animal tissue - you are not eligible to donate blood.  Non-living animal tissues such as bone, tendon, or heart valves are acceptable. 

It is not necessarily surgery but the underlying condition that precipitated the surgery that requires evaluation before donation. Evaluation is on a case by case basis. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation. 

Wait 3 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea. For most major surgery, at least 6 months should elapse prior to donating.

If your PSA is elevated and you do not have prostate cancer, you may donate today, unless you are taking Avodart (dutasteride), Proscar (finasteride). If you are taking Proscar, you may donate one month after your last dose. If you are taking Avodart or Jalyn, you may donate 6 months after your last dose. If you don’t know why your PSA is elevated, please contact our Medical Services Department at (713) 791-6612. 

  • Wait 3 months after having or being treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.
  • Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus), or genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements. 
  • Wait 3 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.
  • Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus), or genital herpes is not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements. 

 

*Not finding what you're looking for? Email Medical Services or fill out this form for further assistance. Your email will receive a response within 24 hours during regular business hours. Or give us a call at (713) 791-6608.

 

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