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Blood donation is a voluntary act where a person donates his/her own blood to be used that will hopefully save someone's life. The blood can be used in a variety of different ways, but it is mainly used for transfusion or turning them into the medication by a medical process that is called fractionation. As it is performed from time to time, it can increase the blood circulation and help in the formation of new blood cells. However, there are a few restrictions that need to be kept in mind.

There is always someone in need of blood, every minute of every day. The only source of new blood is volunteer blood; blood that a donor offers voluntarily. For factual information, only 3% of the total American population donates blood, and these figures are really frightening. This is why several organizations like the Red Cross organize nationwide blood donation camps which help collect more than 6.5 million donors. There are more than 60% of the total American population that can donate blood, while the remaining 40% may fall under some of the restrictions.

The Restrictions

There are a few things that can restrict a donor. From several medical conditions to unhealthy habits that can create complications and prove fatal for the recipient; especially those suffering with HIV/AIDS, blood infection, and several other blood disorders.

Communicable Diseases
Here are a few of the communicable diseases that can prove to be valid restrictions for blood donation. They are not actual restrictions, but are deferrals that can be suspended after several days limit.
  • Hepatitis: Exposure to hepatitis can restrict the person from donating blood for more than 12 months, or until the doctor permits.
  • Measles: Like other infectious diseases, exposure to measles can restrict a person from donating blood for 3 weeks and the person can only donate blood after the person is immunized.
  • Diabetes: No restrictions for people suffering from diabetes if the disease in under control, only deferral is for 3 weeks after initiation of the insulin treatment.
  • Chickenpox: Exposure to chickenpox can restrict a person for 4 weeks and the person can only donate blood after the person is immunized.
  • Epilepsy/Convulsions/Seizures: If the person has had any episodes within the last 3 months of donation.
  • High Blood Pressure Medications: No restrictions are put if the blood pressure levels of the donor are within normal range at the time of donation.
  • Mononucleosis: No restrictions are put, unless the donor is fully recovered and the mononucleosis was not due to hepatitis.
  • Malaria: There is restriction for a year if the donor has recently visited a malaria affected area. If the donor has had malaria, then the restriction gets extended for 3 years.
  • Soriatane: There is 3 years restriction, which is totally mandatory.
  • Surgery and Tattoo: Any surgery and tattoo can restrict the person from donating blood for more than 12 months, or until the doctor permits.
  • Pregnancy: Blood donor is restricted if she is pregnant. There is also a 6 week deferral in case of delivery or miscarriage within the third trimester.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccination: The donor is restricted from donating blood for a week after getting vaccinated and 12 months after getting exposure to hepatitis B.
  • Tooth Extraction and Smallpox Vaccination: No restriction if there are no significant signs of infection.
Other Possible Restrictions
Here are several other random restrictions:
  • Accutane/Propecia/Proscar: Anyone who has taken these drugs is deferred from donating blood for up to 4 weeks.
  • Anthrax Vaccination: None, if the donor is symptom-free.
  • Alcoholism: None, if the donor is currently not under alcohol influence.
  • Asthma: None, if the donor does not have any significant symptoms at the time of donation.
  • Cancer: 5 years waiting period for several types of cancer. No restrictions for basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
  • Cold and Flu: No restrictions for minor symptoms like dry cough, mildly stiff nose, and runny nose.
  • Body Piercing: No restrictions if the piercing is not infected, and if it was done with a sterilized needle. However, 12 months restriction is imposed if there are doubts about the sterility of the needle. Same goes for tattoos.
There are several restrictions for overseas residents, especially for residents belonging to Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Gabon. A member from the blood donation organizations will help the person to identify whether he/she falls under any of the above mentioned restrictions or not.

A person intending to donate blood must follow a regular and balanced diet, increase fluid intake (especially before and after donating blood) and try to maintain the hemoglobin levels to the mark. Those who are at a risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS must never donate blood.