By Nadia Turner

There are numerous reasons why donors can and cannot donate. We often hear, “I don’t think I can donate”, and “I’m on medication, so I probably can’t”. So, let’s unpack some of these questions that keep popping up and maybe a few that you haven’t even thought of.

In this day and age, lots of people are on various medications and think that this will prevent them from donating blood. If you suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes it doesn’t mean you are automatically excluded from donating. You are able to donate blood on most blood pressure medications, provided your blood pressure is controlled and you have been on the medication for more than a month. We check your blood pressure on the day of donation to make sure it is within the normal range. If you are diabetic and on Insulin, unfortunately you may not donate, however, if you are on oral medication or a diet to control your diabetes, you can donate. If you have been on antibiotics, wait seven days after taking your last one and then you are able to donate again provided you are symptom-free.

Lots of donors ask us about surgery and donating blood. Generally speaking, if you have a procedure that requires you to be in a day hospital, the deferral period is usually one month, unless you have had a scope. This will extend the deferral period to 3 months. Most surgeries that require you to stay overnight in hospital have a 3-month hold.

“Why do I have to complete the donor questionnaire every time before I donate?” You can only donate blood every 56 days, and anything – health or lifestyle-wise – might have changed in this period. We need to ensure that you are healthy enough to donate and that your blood is safe for transfusion. The donor questionnaire is the first part of our screening process to ensure safe blood is collected.

If you, or anyone you know, have any other questions, please contact us on 021 5076300, send us a WhatsApp 0605497244 or visit our FAQ page on our website.