- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001

Donating blood is safe and relatively painless. At Food and Drug Administration-approved blood-collection centers, sanitary measures are taken. You cannot get AIDS or any infectious disease from donating blood there.

It is important to drink plenty of fluids before donating. In about an hour, donors complete a short medical history; have their temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin tested; then recline while donating for about 10 minutes. Refreshments are offered to donors before they leave.

Donor eligibility requirements:

• At least 17 years old (no maximum age).

• Good general health.

• Weight of at least 110 pounds.

• A wait of 56 days since last whole-blood donation, 14 days since the last platelet donation.

• Photo ID.

Conditions that may require a wait:

• Antibiotics: 24-hour wait after last dose.

• Cancer: Donor must be five years cancer free for most cancers.

• Colds: Donor must be symptom-free for three days.

• Dental surgery: 72-hour wait after extraction, periodontal surgery or root canal.

• Pregnancy: six weeks after vaginal delivery, six months after a Caesarean section.

• Surgery: two-week to 12-week wait after minor procedures, six months for major procedures.

• Tattoo: One-year wait.

• Transfusion: One-year wait.

• Travel: After visiting countries with malaria risks, you may have to wait one to three years. Anyone who lived in the United Kingdom for a total of six months or more between 1980 and 1996 is not permitted to give blood at this time.

Conditions requiring permanent deferral:

• AIDS (or participation in activities identified as high-risk for transmission of AIDS, or a positive HIV test).

• Autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.

• Parkinson's disease.

• Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

• Viral hepatitis.

Source: Inova Blood Donor Services

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