who can donate?

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Travels, medicines, illnesses or even tattoos … they are just some of the temporary or definitive contraindications for donating blood, plasma or platelets. Find out the main contraindications below.

Contraindications


Below please find a list of the criteria that involve contraindications. Please note: this list is not exhaustive and for reference only. Only the medical interview ahead of the donation and the medical questionnaire count. As such, it may be that the doctor does not allow you to donate blood in the interest of your safety and that of the recipient. Safety is a matter of top priority for the Service du Sang.

Age


You may donate blood from the age of 18. The maximum legal age to make your first donation is set on the day before your 66th birthday. From that time forward, you are allowed to donate blood as long as your last donation occurred no more than 3 years ago.

You may donate plasma from the age of 18. The maximum legal age to make your first donation is set on the day before your 66th birthday. From that time forward, you are allowed to donate plasma as long as your last donation occurred no more than 3 years ago. 

You may donate platelets from the age of 18. The maximum legal age to make your first donation is set on the day before your 61st birthday. From that time forward, you are allowed to donate platelets as long as your last donation occurred no more than 3 years ago. 

Weight


In order to be allowed to donate blood, plasma or platelets, you need to weigh at least 50 kg, ideally a little more if you are at least 156 cm tall.

Pregnancy


As a precaution for the baby and for yourself, you are not allowed to donate blood during your pregnancy or over the 6 month-period after you have given birth. After a miscarriage or an abortion, this period also stands at 6 months. Breastfeeding is not a contraindication for donating blood.

Sexual behaviour


You will need to wait 4 months before you are allowed to donate blood if:

•    you have a new sex partner, even if this is an occasional partner *
•    you have had a sexual relationship with a partner who has syphilis *

You will need to wait 12 months before you are allowed to donate blood if:

You have had sexual relations:

•    with a male and you are a male*
•    in exchange for money, goods or services*
•    with a partner who has tested positive for one of the following viruses: HIV , hepatitis B or C, HTLV*
•    with a partner who has already used intravenously injected drugs*
•    with a partner who has lived in or who is originally from a country or a region with a high HIV prevalence and who has left this country less than 12 months ago.*

If your partner has been affected by any one of the following situations, please wait 12 months before donating blood:

If your partner:

•    has been in a sexual relationship with several partners over the same time period or has had group sex*
•    has been in a sexual relationship in exchange for money, goods or services*
•    is a male and has been in a sexual relationship with a male.*

* sexual relations with or without protection. 

Sexually transmitted diseases


Some sexually transmitted diseases are also transmitted by blood.

If you have tested positive for HIV, hepatitis C and/or syphilis, you are not allowed to donate blood.

For the other sexually transmitted diseases, you may donate after you have fully recovered and observed a wait that depends on the infection.

If you would like further information, please contact us at 0800 92 245 and press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Vaccines


The wait varies depending on the type of vaccine you have been given.

•    If you have been vaccinated against hepatitis B, you will need to wait 2 weeks after the injection; for yellow fever: 1 month.
•    If you have been vaccinated against tetanus, flue, whooping cough, hepatitis A or diphtheria and you feel alright after the vaccine, there is no wait to be observed.

If you have been administered another vaccine, please contact us at 0800 92 245 nd press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Medicines


You are allowed to donate blood if have been using:

•    A nasal spray 
•    A throat spray
•    Cough syrup
•    Antihistamines 
•    Dafalgan / paracetamol 
•    Antiacids such as Pantomed (Pantoprazole), Losec (Omeprazole).
•    Sleeping pills

If you are taking aspirin tablets or anti-inflammatory medicines (Nurofen, Ibuprofen, Perdofemina, etc.), you may donate blood, but no platelets.

If you are on antibiotics, you will need to wait 1 week after the treatment has ended or longer, depending on the illness.

Please note! The reason why you are taking a particular medicine may constitute a contraindication. Always report the medicines you are taking to the doctor at the collection.

For any other medicine(s) you may be on, please contact us at 0800 92 245 and press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be

Illness


  • If you have a cold and you are not running a temperature, you may donate blood.
  • If you are running a temperature (>/=38°C), please wait 2 weeks after you have fully recovered or longer depending on the illness.

Some illnesses definitively rule out any kind of blood donations: cancer, a CVA or cerebrovascular accident (stroke, etc.), a coronary infarction, diabetes treated with insulin, etc.

If you would like further information, please contact us at 0800 92 245 and press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Dentistry


After a simple check-up visit or if you had a filling or a routine dental plaque removal treatment, please wait 24h before attending a collection.

If you had dental reconstruction work, had a tooth extracted or root canal work done, you will need to wait 7 days.

If you would like further information, please contact us at 0800 92 245 or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Drugs


The wait varies depending on the type of drugs you have used:

•    If you are using soft drugs (cannabis), you are allowed to donate blood EXCEPT if you are under the influence at the time of the donation.

•    If you have used drugs intranasally (sniffing), you will need to wait 4 months before making a blood donation.

•    If you have used Ecstasy or other synthetic drugs, you will need to wait 4 months before making a blood donation.

If you have taken drugs administered by intramuscular or intravenous injection or if you have used doping substances or anabolic substances not prescribed by a doctor, even if the last time you did so was several years ago, you are not allowed to donate blood.

If you would like further information, please contact us at 0800 92 245 or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Piercing and tattoos


You will need to wait 4 months after you had a tattoo, a piercing (including ear rings) or permanent make-up applied before you are allowed to make a blood donation.

Travel


Why do I need to wait for so long after my trip?

You may be carrying a disease that is transmissible by blood which you contracted whilst staying in certain countries and which may go undetected or remain “dormant” over a certain length of time. Which is why you need to wait for a certain period of time before donating blood to prevent this disease from being transmitted to the patients who may receive products derived from your donation.

Depending on the country where you travelled to, and the potential risks involved, you will need to wait anywhere from 28 days to 6 months before you can donate blood again. For further information, you can download the list of countries here.

If you lived or spent time living in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) for at least 6 months (including all stays adding up to 6 months in all) between 1980 and 1996, the way the law currently stands, you are not permitted to donate your blood.

To find out how long you will need to wait upon returning from a trip, please contact us at 0800 92 245 or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Ticks


If you have been bitten by a tick and you do not come out in a red rash, you may donate blood.

If you did come out in a rash or if you had Lyme disease, you will need to wait 3 months.

For further information before you make your way to one of our collections, please contact us at 0800 92 245, press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Acupuncture


If you underwent an acupuncture session performed by a practitioner, you are permitted to donate blood.

If not, you will need to wait 4 months after you last acupuncture session before being allowed to donate.

For further information before you make your way to one of our collections, please contact us at 0800 92 245, press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

Haemochromatosis


If you suffer from haemochromatosis (excessive absorption of iron), you may still be allowed to donate your blood to the Red Cross, subject to certain conditions.

You:

•    need to be undergoing maintenance treatment;

•    need to have a normal ferritin count;

•    may not have organ damage that is connected to your haemochromatosis;

•    do not require more than one bloodletting every two months;

•    meet all the other usual criteria that apply to all other donors.

If you fail to meet these criteria, whether temporarily or definitively, you will be invited to get in touch with your attending physician again.

On your first donation (and subsequently, once a year), you will need to bring a certificate issued by your doctor (a blank specimen certificate is available at the collection point or may be downloaded here).

Important remark: the carriers of the mutated HFE gene who do not show any symptoms and who do not require therapeutic bloodletting are allowed to donate blood no more than 4 times per year and without having to furnish a report from their attending physician.

How often can they donate?

Patients affected by haemochromatosis are allowed to donate blood no more than 6 times per year. This is more than “ordinary” donors who are allowed to donate a maximum of 4 times per year. Between 2 blood donations, a wait of at least 2 months is to be observed. 

For further information before you make your way to one of our collections, please contact us at 0800 92 245, press 4 “doctor” or send us a mail at info@croix-rouge.be.

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