Blood Basics

Can I donate blood if I have a cold or the flu?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    You should not donate blood when you're sick. In fact, the National Institutes of Health says that you should be free of cold and flu symptoms for at least 48 hours before you give blood.

    Symptoms of the flu include a cough, fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, and sore throat. Cold symptoms may be similar, but colds are less likely to cause fever or headaches.

  • AAmerican Red Cross answered

    You can’t donate blood if you have a fever, a productive cough, if you do not feel well, or if you are taking antibiotics to treat a sinus, throat, or lung infection.

    Guidelines on eligibility to give blood change from time to time. The most up-to-date eligibility information can be obtained by contacting the American Red Cross blood center nearest you.

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