Busting Myths about Donating Blood




September 2019

* All information subject to change

By Vitalant


MYTH: I have a tattoo and cannot donate

FACT: If your tattoo was applied in a state regulated tattoo parlor in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia or Wisconsin, and your tattoo is completely healed, YOU can donate!

NOTE: Tattoos applied at West Texas Tattoo Convention at the end of Feb ARE ACCEPTABLE


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I have seasonal allergies.

FACT: Allergies, even those that need to be controlled by medication, will not prevent you from donating blood. Some symptoms of allergies may temporarily defer your blood donation – Call Vitalant at 325-223-7500 and ask for Donor Services to determine eligibility prior to blood drive.


MYTH:I can’t give blood because I have high blood pressure

FACT: As long as your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and 90 diastolic (second number) at the time of your donation, you may give blood. Furthermore, medications that you may be taking for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I have high cholesterol.

FACT: A high cholesterol level does not disqualify you from donating – even if medication is used to control it. In fact, when you donate blood you will get a free cholesterol screening!


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I had a flu shot.

FACT: You may donate blood the same day you receive the vaccination as long as you are asymptomatic from the vaccine and you took the flu shot for preventative measures.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I had cancer.

FACT: While some types of cancer may disqualify you from donating, there are many circumstances under which you may donate after an appropriate waiting period. Please contact Vitalant at 325-223-7500 and ask for Donor Services for more information.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I’m diabetic.

Fact: Diabetics may donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met – Diabetics are also encouraged to eat at least within 3 hours of the donation. However, the use of bovine-derived insulin (that was manufactured since 1980 from cattle in the UK) will result in deferral from blood donation.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I have epilepsy or seizures.

FACT: Epilepsy or seizures do not disqualify you from donating.


MYTH: I can’t donate because I’m anemic.

* There are several different types of anemia – some are deferring; please call Vitalant at 325-223-7500 to verify eligibility prior to the blood drive.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I’m on medication.

FACT: In nearly all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as you are healthy and the condition is under control, you will very likely be able to donate. Call Vitalant at 325-223-7500 and ask for Donor Services prior to the blood drive to verify eligibility.


MYTH: I can’t give blood because I’m afraid of needles.

FACT: Most people do feel a bit of nervousness about blood donation. Most also say that after their donation that they’re sorry they waited so long. Blood donation is a momentary discomfort for the donor that can provide a lifetime of difference for the patient.


MYTH: Why donate, I have to pay for it when I go in the hospital.

FACT: Even though blood is freely given by volunteer donors, it does cost money to collect, process, test and deliver the blood to hospitals for patient use. Vitalant recovers those costs by charging hospitals a service fee. This service fee generally is included on the patient’s bill, often with other charges for hospital lab services. Most insurance providers cover these fees.


Vitalant is a Non-Profit Organization

• Vitalant does not receive funding from any local, state or federal agency

• Service Fees are determined by our annual operating expenses as compared to revenue from blood distributed and used by service area hospitals

• Service Fees are our only source of income to cover our expenses

• The target amount of blood collected each year is based on average usage from our service area hospitals.

• Expenses include but are not limited to:

– fuel, facility utilities, donor recruitment promotions, donor refreshments, blood bags, test tubes, laboratory tests, blood bag labels, computers, blood collection equipment and maintenance, lab equipment and maintenance, vehicles, numerous blood collections supplies, employee wages, quality assurance, temperature monitoring equipment, and much more.


If you are unsure if you are qualified to donate blood, please call Vitalant in San Angelo at 325-223-7500 and ask for Donor Services. A qualified Donor Services Technician will be more than happy to answer your questions.

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