Frequently Asked Questions

In order to better serve you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions most commonly asked by donors. If you still don't see the answer to your question, feel free to call 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
Giving Blood

Q:
Who can give?
• At least 16 years of age (must have written parental consent). There is no upper age limit.
• All donors at Carter BloodCare must bring a valid photo ID.
• Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds.
• Potential donors must be feeling well and healthy on the day of donating.
Q:
What types of photo ID are accepted?
Photo IDs must be issued by state, school or U.S. government (passport, military ID, residential alien ID, green card or work visa).
Q:
How much blood is taken?
A unit (about one pint) of blood is drawn. This procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes. The average person has between 10 to 12 pints of blood in his/her body. The blood volume lost during donation is replaced by the body within 24 hours. In about a month, the body will have replaced all of the red cells as well.
Q:
How often can I give?
Giving whole blood requires a waiting period of 56 days between donations. If you donate plasma (your red cells are returned to you), you may donate every 28 days. If you donate platelets (your red cells and most of your plasma is returned to you), you may donate every 7 days, for a total of 24 times in the prior 12 months.

If you donate double red cells (most of your plasma is returned to you), you must wait 112 days before your next donation. Double red cell donors must meet certain weight, height and hemoglobin requirements.
Q:
How long does it take?
The entire whole blood donation process, from registration to post-donation refreshments, takes less than an hour. The actual blood draw takes 5 to 10 minutes. Automated donations take a little longer. We encourage donors to make and honor appointments to avoid long delays.
Q:
How will I feel after I give?
Most people feel fine after giving blood. A unit of blood (500ml) is less than a pint, and the average adult body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood. Your body makes new blood constantly, and the fluid you give will be replaced within hours. Eating a meal within a few hours before giving will help you with the donation. Drinking water and juices before and after giving also helps your body replenish lost fluids. You should avoid alcohol before and after giving. Strenuous activity should be avoided for 12 hours after giving. If you have a hazardous or strenuous job, you should give at the end of your work shift. Smokers should refrain from smoking 30 minutes after giving.
Q:
Can I give blood for myself?
Yes. It is called autologous donation. Autologous means "self donation" and refers to donating blood for your own surgery. This is a decision that you and your surgeon must make together. An autologous donation can only be drawn with an Autologous Donation Request Form that must be completed and signed by your surgeon. Once the form is completed, you may contact our Special Donations Department at 1-866-525-3378 or Metro 817-412-5308 to schedule an appointment at a Donor Center (Monday - Friday) near you.

Receiving Blood
Q:
Is it safe to receive blood?
While no medical procedure is without risk, the unlikely risk of transfusion-related complications is far less than that of not receiving a transfusion indicated for treatment. The blood supply is more safe now than ever. Every potential donor undergoes a thorough screening by a trained professional, and every unit undergoes many tests to ensure safety.
Blood Testing
Q:
What tests are performed on blood?
• ABO blood grouping
• Rh type
• Red cell antibody screen
• Cholesterol
• Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
• Hepatitis C Antibody
• Hepatitis B Core Antibody
• HIV-1 Antibody
• HIV-2 Antibody
• HIV-O Antibody
• HTLV - Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus Type I and II Antibodies
• West Nile Virus
• Syphilis
Q:
What happens when somebody tests positive?
Depending on the type of positive test result, the donor may be temporarily or indefinitely deferred. The blood donation is discarded in almost all cases. The donor is notified by mail of any abnormal test results, or may be notified that we wish to personally consult with him/her. At that time, we are able to help the donor understand the test result and subsequent deferral. All test results are confidential for all blood donors. If you have questions about testing, please call Donor Notification at 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
Q:
Which patients use what components?
Red blood cells can be used to help accident victims, surgical patients and people with anemia.

Platelets can be used by patients receiving treatment for leukemia and cancer, those undergoing surgery and others with low-platelet conditions.

Plasma is effective in replacing lost blood volume and treating patients suffering from burns and certain other diseases.
Traveling Abroad
Q:
I've been traveling outside the U.S. Can I donate?
YES
  • United Kingdom:
    • 1996 to present or prior to 1980 - any visit of less than 5 years cumulative
    • Between 1980 – 1996 - any visit of less than 3 months cumulative
  • U.S. Military bases in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany:
    • 1990 to present or prior to 1980 - any visit of less than 5 years cumulative
    • Between 1980 – 1996 - any visit of less than 6 months cumulative
  • U.S. Military bases in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey:
    • 1996 to present or prior to 1980 - any visit of less than 5 years cumulative
    • Between 1980 – 1996 - any visit of less than 6 months cumulative
  • Other European Countries:
    • 1980 to present - any visit of less than 5 years cumulative
    • Prior to 1980 - visits of any length
WAIT
  • Malarial Endemic countries - 1-3 year Deferral
NO
  • United Kingdom from 1980 – 1996 - cumulative time of 3 months or more
  • U.S. Military bases in Belgium, Netherland and Germany from 1980 – 1990 - cumulative time of 6 months or more
  • U.S. Military bases in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey from 1980 – 1996 - cumulative time of 6 months or more
  • European countries 1980 – present - cumulative time of 5 years
Q:
I don't see the country I visited. Do you have a more complete list?
Travel to these countries can keep you from giving blood.
  • United Kingdom (Traveled or lived in for a total time of 3 months or more between 1980 – 1996)
    • Channel Islands
    • England
    • Falkland Islands
    • Gibraltar
    • Isle of Man
    • Northern Ireland
    • Scotland
    • Wales
  • Europe (Traveled or lived in for a total of 5 years or more since 1980)
    • Albania
    • Andorra
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Bosnia - Herzegovina
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia
    • Czech republic
    • Denmark
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Holy See Hungary
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Italy
    • Liechtenstein
    • Luxembourg
    • Macedonia
    • Monaco
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • San Marino
    • Serbia
    • Romania
    • Slovak Republic
    • Montenegro
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
    • Turkey
Q:
What is vCJD?
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is a fatal degenerative neurological disease found predominantly in the United Kingdom and has been referred to as "Mad Cow Disease." Current studies cannot exclude the possibility of transfusion transmission. However, there have been no cases of transmission of this disease by blood transfusion.
Medications and Health
Q:
What can I eat to raise my hemoglobin (iron) levels?
Best Sources of Iron:
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Poultry
  • Egg yolk
Other Good Sources:
  • Enriched Cereals, breads
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Dried beans, kidney, pinto, soy
  • Dark molasses
  • Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, peaches)
Q:
Is there a list of generic meds, so I can check my eligibility?
Yes, you can give.
  • Antibiotics for acne or preventative for UTI/gum disease
  • Anti-convulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Analgesics - aspirin, pain relievers (aspirin only, must wait 2 days to donate platelets)
  • Antacids - (i.e. Tums, Prilosec)
  • Anti-asthmatics
  • Anti-fungal for localized skin/nails/vagina
  • Anti-histamine (must be feeling well and healthy)
  • Decongestant (no symptoms)
  • Diet pills
  • Diuretic (as long as there is no heart failure)
  • Steroids (oral)
  • Steroids (topical)
  • Tranquilizer/sleep aids
  • Vitamins/herbal supplements
WAIT
  • Antibiotics - treatment must be finished at least the day prior to donation
  • Blood thinners - taking Coumadin
No, you cannot give.
  • Growth hormone injections before 1985
  • Insulin from cattle
Q:
Do you have a list of common ailments/illnesses?
Yes, you can give.
  • Acid reflux
  • Acne using topical ointments and oral antibiotics for prevention
  • Allergies - feeling well and healthy
  • Arthritis (Osteo)
  • Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
  • Canker sore/fever blister or cold sore
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema (no lesions in venipuncture area)
  • Headache - severe migraine (if well on day of donation)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Poison ivy (no lesions in venipuncture area)
  • Ringworm (not in venipuncture area)
  • Thyroid - hypo/hyper
  • Ulcerative colitis
WAIT
  • Acne - taking Accutane - You must wait 30 days after your last dose before you can donate.
  • Skin cancer - all types except melanoma - You must wait until after removal before you can donate.
  • Diarrhea - You must wait until symptoms disappear before you can donate.
  • Mononucleosis - You must wait until symptoms disappear before you can donate.
  • UTI - Urinary Tract Infection - You must wait for infection to clear before donating.
No, you cannot give.
  • Cancer - leukemia or lymphoma
  • Cold/flu
  • Heart attack
  • Hepatitis, viral
  • Psoriasis - treatment with Acitretin, Soritane or Tegison
Q:
What if I've got a tattoo or body piercing?
Tattoo, ear and body piercings: Eligible if done at a Texas state-licensed facility. Otherwise, you are deferred for 12 months.
Q:
I recently had a shot/vaccination. Can I give?
YES
  • Tetanus booster
  • Flu shot
  • TB test (For treatment of TB, deferral is 24 months after prescription ended.)
  • Polio
  • Rabies (unless for exposure to suspected rabid animal)
  • Hepatitis A vaccine
  • HPV - Human Papilloma Virus
  • Steroid injection
WAIT
  • Hepatitis B vaccine - You must wait 2 weeks
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine - You must wait 4 weeks
  • Gamma Globulin - HBIG (exposure to hepatitis) - You must wait 1 year
Q:
I'm taking AVODART (dutasteride). Can I give?
AVODART (dutasteride) was approved on October 10, 2002 and became available for prescription in December of 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.
Q:
I recently had a surgery/skin graft. Can I give?
YES
  • Major surgery performed in hospital/surgery clinic (no blood used)
  • Lasik/cataract surgery
  • Grafts - autologous
WAIT
  • Major surgery performed in hospital/surgery clinic - Blood transfusion - You must wait 1 year after surgery to donate.
  • Graft - allogeneic, other - You must wait 1 year after the graft to donate
NO
  • Graft - allogeneic, duramater
Q:
I have a circulation/heart disorder. Can I give?
YES
  • High blood pressure (controlled)
  • MVP - no restrictions, no symptoms
  • Arrhythmias - if pulse is regular
WAIT
  • For conditions/surgery and angioplasty, please contact us at: 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
NO
  • Heart attack
Q:
Common questions from men:
My PSA is elevated, but I don't know why. Can I give?
Please contact Carter BloodCare at 817-412-5603.

My PSA is elevated due to benign prostate hyperplasia. Can I give?
Yes, you may donate today.

My PSA is elevated and I'm taking Proscar. Can I give?
You may donate one month after your last dose.

I'm taking Propecia for baldness. Can I give?
If you are taking Propecia, you may donate one month after your last dose.
Q:
Common questions from women:
I am pregnant. Can I give?
You cannot donate until six weeks after pregnancy ends.

I recently had a miscarriage/abortion. Can I give?
You are eligible to donate six weeks after.

I am going through menopause or am having hormone replacement therapy. Can I give?
Yes, you may give.

I'm taking birth control pills. Can I give?
Yes, you may give.

I'm taking fertility drugs. Can I give?
Yes, you may give.

I've just had a routine mammogram. Can I give?
Yes, you may give.

I have been given RhoGam/Rhlg. Can I give?
Yes, you can give if pregnancy ended more than six weeks ago.

I have a vaginal yeast infection. Can I give?
Yes, you can give.
Q:
Can I donate if I have a sexually transmitted disease?
If you have syphilis or gonorrhea, you must wait one year after you complete your treatments.
Q:
I've had contact with someone who has hepatitis. Can I give?
If you have been exposed via casual contact, you can give. If your contact has come from a member of your household or from sexual contact, you cannot give. Otherwise, you must wait one year before you can donate blood. For questions, call 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
Q:
I don't have sickle cell anemia, but I carry the trait. Can I still give?
You can donate blood if you have sickle cell trait.
Other

Q:
My question was not addressed.
Please call Carter BloodCare at 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
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