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Is It Safe to Donate Blood? The Basics of Blood Donation

Is It Safe to Donate Blood? The Basics of Blood Donation

What is blood donation? Is it safe to donate blood?

Blood donation is a voluntary and life-saving activity that provides blood for many medical procedures. However, despite the importance of this practice, many people still wonder: is it safe to donate blood? The simple answer is yes, provided that the donor fits certain eligibility criteria.

What are the types of blood donation?

Whole blood donation

In this most basic type of donation, donors give about half a liter (1 pint) of blood. This blood will then be separated into its different components: cells, plasma and sometimes, platelets.


This type of donation refers to the collection and subsequent separation of blood elements, with the unused components being returned to the donor.

  • Plateletpheresis collects platelets. Platelets help stop bleeding and are used for people with clotting issues, cancer, and those undergoing major surgeries.
  • Double red cell donation is when you give twice the amount of red blood cells in a single session. Red blood cells aid in oxygen delivery. They are used for those suffering blood loss due to serious injury, or sickle cell anemia.
  • Plasmapheresis collects plasma. This helps in blood clotting. Plasma also contains infection-fighting antibodies. Plasma aids those in emergency situations to slow bleeding.

Is it safe to donate blood? Requirements for blood donation

There are certain conditions that medical bodies set to ensure that it is safe to donate blood, for both the donor and recipient. There include weight and height requirements. Donors must also be in good health.

According to the Philippine Red Cross, a healthy person may donate blood every 3 months.

The Department of Health notes that potential blood donors must weight at least 110 lbs. The volume of blood donated will be commensurate to your body weight. Pulse rate must be between 60 and 100 beats/minute, while blood pressure must be between 90 and 160 systolic, and 60 and 100 diastolic.

Causes of Hypertension: What Makes Blood Pressure Go Up?

What makes me ineligible to donate blood?

Illness or infection

Those suffering from colds, the flu, or other sicknesses, especially those that require antibiotic treatment are advised to wait until they are fully recovered and/or finished with their antibiotic course to ensure that it is safe to donate blood.

Under weight requirement

Those with low body weight may have lower blood volume. The reason for the weight requirement is that those with low weight may be unable to cope with the loss of required volume for whole blood donation. However, there is no upper weight limit unless specified by the blood donation facility you choose to go to.

Certain medication or vaccinations

Taking specific medicines such as aspirin and birth control do not make you ineligible to donate blood. It is best to check with your healthcare provider how long you need to wait before donating blood if you are taking other medications.

Getting immunized normally does not affect your ability to give blood, except for needing to wait with some vaccines. This includes vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, live shingles, polio, yellow fever, hepatitis B, smallpox and even COVID-19 vaccines (if it is made with live attenuated virus).

Medical conditions

Most medical conditions do not affect blood donation.

However, the following conditions make you ineligible for donating blood:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bleeding conditions
  • Cancers of the blood
  • Heart disease
  • Malaria
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Tuberculosis

Check with your doctor to find out how long you need to wait to donate blood.

Travel outside of the country

Some countries may make you susceptible to contracting malaria, ebola, the Zika virus and other infections that will prevent you from donating blood.

Key Takeaways

Blood donation promotes better health for recipients. It is essential for community health, especially amid a pandemic that relies on the blood of persons who have recovered from COVID-19.

However, there are certain requirements in place which make sure that it is safe to donate blood. These include weight, height and age requirements, medical conditions or treatments, among others.

Learn more about Medical Procedures and Surgeries here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Blood Donation, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blood-donation/about/pac-20385144

Accessed April 3, 2021


Requirements by Donation Type, https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements.html

Accessed April 3, 2021


What to know about the Coronavirus and Blood Donation, https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/coronavirus–covid-19–and-blood-donation.html

Accessed April 3, 2021


Common Reasons People Can’t Donate – Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html#eligibility-medicaltreatments

Accessed April 3, 2021


Improving health profile of blood donors as a consequence of transfusion safety efforts, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17958530/

Accessed April 3, 2021


Double red blood cell donation, https://www.mbc.org/donate-blood/about-blood/right-type-your-type/double-red-cell-donation/

Accessed April 23, 2021


How to donate, https://redcross.org.ph/give-blood/

Accessed April 23, 2021


Who can donate, https://doh.gov.ph/node/1449

Accessed April 23, 2021


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Written by Louise Nichole Logarta Updated May 04
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel