Can I give blood?
So you’ve decided to give blood today? Fantastic!
Héma-Québec is duty bound to check the qualifications
of everyone who shows up to make a donation, whether it is whole blood,
plasma or platelet. In other words, Héma-Québec makes sure
that each of these potential donors meets the entire range of criteria
established to ensure the safety of both donors and recipients.
be excluded from giving blood. For various reasons, the exclusion may
be temporary or permanent. A Héma-Québec nurse assigned
to the selection procedure will explain why you are being excluded.
The qualification criteria are reviewed and assessed
on a regular basis. They are, therefore, subject to change.
Here are several of the qualification criteria; this list is
Take note that some criteria apply more specifically to
people who have traveled outside Canada (for example, variant
|ACUPUNCTURE OR ELECTROLYSIS
||You may give blood only if your treatment involves
disposable needles or personal kit. Otherwise, you must wait 6 months.
|| To donate blood, you must be at least 18 years
||You may give blood if you feel well on clinic day.
Otherwise, you must wait until symptoms abate. You
may also give after an allergy injection.
||You cannot give blood during the first 6 months of
||You may give blood.
This criterion was modified on July 6, 2005. Blood donors
currently excluded because of this measure must phone the 1 800 847-2525
before showing up at a blood drive. Héma-Québec representatives
will assess their admissibility to blood donation with respect to
stays abroad according to the revised criterion. You must be able
to provide the following information: the country or countries you
have traveled to, the duration of your stay as well as the return
Donors are excluded on a permanent
basis for the following reasons:
- People who have spent one month or more in the United Kingdom
between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996 inclusively.* UK
includes: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle
of Man and the Channel Islands.
- People who have spent three months or more in France between
January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996 inclusively.
- People who have spent six months or more in Western Europe
since January 1, 1980. Western Europe includes: Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Note that the time spent in the United Kingdom and France since
January 1, 1997 must not be included in the cumulative period.
- People having received a blood transfusion (blood, red cells
platelets or plasma) in the Western Europe since January 1, 1980.
||Filling and cleaning: you cannot give blood the day
of the treatment.
Extraction, dental surgery and root canal: you must wait
3 days after end of treatment (providing full recovery).
||If treated by oral medications, you may give blood.
If treated by insulin injections, you cannot give blood.
|IMPRISONMENT OR INCARCERATION
||If you have been in jail for longer than 3 consecutive
days, refrain from donating for a period of 12
months following your
|INFLUENZA AND COLD
||You may give if you don't have any fever. Otherwise,
you must wait until symptoms and fever disappear.
|| You must be able to provide the following information at the interview
with the nurse on a blood drive: the
country or countries you have traveled to in the past 3 years as well
as the return dates.
|| In most cases, taking medication does
not prevent people from giving blood. Rather, it is the condition
being treated with the medication that prohibits blood donation.
There are, however, certain medications that can pose a risk to blood
donors and/or recipients. If you are taking any of the following
medications, you cannot give blood.
You must be able to provide the medications’ names at
a blood drive.
| BODY PIERCING
||You must wait 6 months.
|PREGNANCY / CHILD BIRTH / BREAST- FEEDING
||You must wait 6 months after giving
||You must wait until all symptoms completely disappear
and complete recovery.
||You must wait 6 months.
||Vaccination against influenza (or flu): you must wait
Any others vaccinations, you must refer to a Héma-Québec
You must be able to provide the vaccinations’ names
at a blood drive.
||You must weigh at least 110 pounds (50 Kg).
Cases of exclusion
Héma-Québec makes donor and recipient safety equal priorities.
This means that even though donations of whole blood, plasma and platelets
are always necessary, some people can be temporarily excluded from the
donation process for various reasons.
The following list of reasons for
temporary exclusion is not exhaustive.
temperature above 37.5°C
pressure over 180/100 mmHg
level too low (< 12.5 g/dL)
to a country where malaria is prevalent
you are taking certain medications
People who are temporarily excluded from donating blood are
invited to return after the prescribed waiting period, depending on
In order to protect both the donor and the patient-recipient in equal
measure, some people are excluded from making donations on a permanent
The following situations constitute justification for permanent exclusion
from making donations. (This list is not exclusive.)
kinds of hepatitis (B or C, for example)
of the liver
controlled by insulin
- Ischemic heart failure
Potential donors may also be excluded on a permanent basis for the following
- if you are taking certain medicine
who have spent one month or more in the United Kingdom between January
1, 1980 and December 31, 1996 inclusively.* UK includes: England, Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
- People who have spent three months or
more in France between January
1, 1980 and December 31, 1996 inclusively.
- People who have spent six months or more
in Western Europe since January
1, 1980. Western
Europe includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland,
Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United
Kingdom and Switzerland. Note that the time spent in the United Kingdom
and France since January 1, 1997 must not be included in the cumulative
- People having
received a blood transfusion (blood, red cells platelets or plasma)
in the Western Europe since January 1, 1980.
For more information on variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob
at the time of collection
The evaluation of a potential donor’s eligibility to give blood,
part of Héma-Québec’s responsibility to ensure the
safety of its products, is based on a health questionnaire, checking
the donor’s vital signs and verifying the hemoglobin level of all
individuals who arrive at a blood drive or a Globule Blood Donor Centre.
In order to ensure donor and patient safety, it is important to be aware
of some details concerning the donor’s state of health and whether
the donor has been involved in activities that carry a risk of blood
For this reason, everyone who wishes to make a blood donation must complete
(420 KB, PDF) about their state of health so we can ensure
that they meet Héma-Québec’s qualification criteria.
Anyone who does not meet these criteria cannot give blood.
A Héma-Québec nurse checks the donor’s vital signs
to ensure they fall within an acceptable range: blood
pressure, pulse, temperature.
The nurse also examines the donor’s arms to ensure that there
are no signs of intravenous drug use.
Anyone whose vital signs do not fall within an acceptable range
cannot give blood.
The hemoglobin test is administered to ensure that the red blood cells
in your blood contain sufficient levels of an iron-rich protein called
To check your hemoglobin level, a Héma-Québec nurse will
take a drop of blood by pricking the end of your finger.
If your hemoglobin level is too low, the nurse will inform you.
A hemoglobin level that is too low means that giving blood could cause
you discomfort since your body could take more time to regenerate the
450 mL of blood you would donate. This situation could, however, only
be temporary, and you could be able to give blood again in 56 days.
It is important to note that even if your hemoglobin level is low on
the day of the clinic, you can still be in excellent health.