Frequently Asked Questions
We know how sad some persons are when  they have taken their courage to come and donate blood and were told that they can’t even if they are in good health or has not taken their inhalers for some time.

Different interpretations  can cause confusion to a donor or as research has shown that wrong communication may prevent a donor from coming back.

Note: It is important to understand that a person should be in good health and without putting at risk the life and health of a patient or another person.

From the very educative and informative blog of NBTS - Mauritius, an asthmatic can donate blood.

According to Dr Mrs Janaki Sonoo, Deputy Director of Central Laboratory and Head of NBTS, Candos "

"A person can give blood if s/he has mild asthma and require only occasional use of inhalers or  that person is on a regular preventative treatment programme with inhalers and do not have active symptoms at present. (at the time of donating blood)

You cannot donate blood if you have severe asthma ( on daily inhalers and medication ) or you are symptomatic at the time of donation. "

According to the American Red Cross, " If you have asthma, you may donate blood as long as you are not having difficulty breathing at the time of donation and you otherwise feel well. Medications for asthma do not disqualify you from donating."

According to Irish Blood Transfusion Service: 

" You can give blood if you have mild asthma and require only occasional use of inhalers or if you are on a regular preventative treatment programme with inhalers and do not have active symptoms at present.

You cannot give blood if you have active symptoms.

You cannot give blood if you have severe asthma. "

WHO's Guidelines
Assessment of the suitability of individuals with respiratory disease requires
consideration of the health of the donor and assessment of the risk of transmission
of infection to the recipient.
Also refer to Section 7.5.6 on tuberculosis.
 Individuals with asthma provided they are asymptomatic on a maintenance
dose of non-steroid and/or inhaled steroid medication
 Individuals with:
— Asthma during an acute exacerbation: defer for 14 days after full recovery
— Asthma on a course of oral or injected steroids: defer for 14 days
following full recovery and cessation of oral or injected steroids
— Acute respiratory infections such as bronchitis: defer for 14 days following
full recovery and cessation of any therapy, including antibiotics
Defer permanently
 Individuals with:
— Respiratory disease if they are breathless at rest or on minimal exertion
or are cyanosed
— Severe obstructive airways disease, including those on long-term oral
steroid therapy
— Chronic or recurrent respiratory infections

You must be completely healed or recovered from any infection for at least 14 days before you give blood. If you are taking antibiotics you may need to wait a period of time after your last pill.

For an infection: 
If you have hospital appointment pending then you must also wait until these have finished.

Surgery: for minor surgery without G.A. (General Anaesthesia) and if your infection or wound is completely healed, you can give blood.
Major surgery: For G.A you must wait for 12 months. For certain major surgery, you could be deferred permanently, that you may not give blood, like a heart surgery. The Nursing staff or Doctor can only determine whether you can donate blood or not and they have the final words.
No. There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain whatsoever during the rest of the donation.
Your body replaces the blood volume (plasma) within 24 hours. Red blood cells are replaced by the bone marrow into the circulatory system within about three to four weeks, while the lost iron is replaced over approximately six to eight weeks.

You may donate either whole blood or a specific blood component such as blood platelets. Each type of donation requires a certain waiting period before you can give again. After a whole blood donation, a person must wait at least 90 days before donating again.

The minimum interval between whole blood donations is 12 weeks (3 months) for men and 16 weeks (4 months) for women. Platelet and plasma donors are able to donate more frequently.

Most people feel great! Donors who know what to expect and have eaten regular meals, or have had a snack and fluids before donating, are usually fine. Most people who donate blood have no after-effects. You should drink extra fluids for four hours following your donation. A small number of people feel light-headed and others occasionally faint after donating.

In the unlikely event that you feel faint, be sure to quickly lie completely flat. Lying flat, even if on the floor, with your legs elevated, will usually resolve any feelings of dizziness or light-headedness quite quickly and may prevent fainting.

In the event that you do not feel well after a blood donation, please contact the staff at your nearest blood donor centre.


This article will help you and answer all your concerns.

No, blood blood centers require that you be in good health (symptom-free) and feeling well.
Yes. There is no waiting period to donate after receiving a flu shot.
Our duty is to provide a safe blood supply and the BTS needs your help to maintain these standards. Although all blood donations are tested for viruses, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis, there is a period of time after a person first becomes infected with a virus during which the infection may not be detectable (this is often referred to as the “window period”). So, the person's blood could still transmit a disease if transfused to a patient, even though their tests were negative and there was no sign of infection at the time of donation. For this reason, a thorough donor selection process is essential.
Travelling to some parts of the world can affect your ability to donate blood like in certain African countries and Asian countries prone to malaria, chikungunya and other diseases whereby you may be differed temporarily for safety reasons.

Please call the Blood Bank on: 427 7192 or 424 0850.

Blood donation is safe. New, sterile disposable equipment is used for each donor, so there's no risk of contracting a bloodborne infection by donating blood.

If you're a healthy  and without any life-style or behaviour that places you as a risky donor, please do not donate blood. Even if tests are done,  due to window period,  the risks may not be  discovered for a certain period of time.

Donating a pint of blood will not endanger your health. Within 24 hours of a blood donation, your body replaces the lost fluids. And after several weeks, your body replaces the lost red blood cells which usually takes dome  4 - 8 weeks and sometime up to 12 weeks.

No. You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by giving blood. The materials used for your blood donation, including the needle, blood collection bag, tubes and finger prick needle are new, sterile and disposable. These are used only once for your blood donation and then destroyed after use.

Blood is made up of different components and each component has its own important function. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the tissues and remove carbon dioxide.

The main function of platelets and the coagulation factors is to prevent and stop bleeding. Each one of these blood components has an important role, and any one of these components may be used in the treatment of patients with certain medical conditions.

Substances designed to carry oxygen, such as a haemoglobin solution prepared from cattle's blood, are currently being evaluated. This is available in very limited quantities internationally. These oxygen carriers circulate in the bloodstream for a short period and are usually used only as an interim measure.

In cases of trauma or during surgical operations, the volume of blood which is lost by the patient may initially be replaced with synthetic solutions (crystalloid or colloid solutions) such as normal saline. These solutions are not recognized as “blood substitutes” but are blood volume expanders. They do not carry oxygen. They are frequently used in the initial treatment of patients, for example in the ambulance or in the operating theatre, while blood is being obtained from the blood bank.

There is no substitute for blood. When the patient's haemoglobin level, platelet level or coagulation factor level falls below a critical point, blood transfusion is the only option. Patients rely on voluntary blood donors to provide red blood cells, platelets and coagulation factors, to meet their medical needs.

Eat at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluid before you donate blood. Have a snack at least four hours before you donate, but do not eat too much right before the donation.

Before you leave the blood donor clinic after your blood donation, have some tea, coffee or a soft drink to help replace the blood volume (approximately 450 ml) which has been reduced as a result of your donation.

Avoid taking aspirin or aspirin-like anti-inflammatory medication in the 72 hours prior to your donation, because aspirin inhibits the function of blood platelets. If you have taken aspirin within this period, your blood platelet component cannot be transfused to a patient.

Blood is donated voluntarily, freely and without payment or reward of any kind. Blood must only be donated in the spirit of altruism for patients who need blood or blood products as part of their medical treatment. Blood is donated as an act of goodwill towards a fellow human being and nothing should be expected in return for giving this gift of life.

What you do get in return is a physical and emotional sense of well-being and the knowledge that you have helped to save someone's life. We all hope that someone will do the same for us when we need a blood transfusion.

Every person has an ABO and rhesus blood group: i.e. group A, B, AB, or O and RhD negative or RhD positive. In addition to these ABO blood groups, people's red blood cells consist of many other antigens as part of their red cell structure.

Occasionally, people have an unusual, specific red cell antigen. Alternatively, some individual's red cells lack an antigen which is common to most people. This would be recognised as a “rare” blood type. Some patients have antibodies against a specific blood type and in these circumstances it may be difficult to find blood from a regular blood donor which is compatible with that of the rare type of the patient.

Before every blood transfusion, compatibility tests are performed on the blood of the patient and on the blood of the donor, to ensure that the transfused blood will not cause any untoward reaction in the recipient.

First-time blood donors are notified by mail of their ABO blood group and RhD type, after the blood has been tested in the BTS laboratory.

Firstly, you will be asked to provide personal details such as your name, address, age, weight, ID number and/or date of birth. A medical history is taken by means of a written questionnaire.

These questions are designed to ascertain that it is medically safe for you to donate blood and that the recipient of your blood will not be harmed in any way. In addition, very personal questions relating to your mode of life and sexual behaviour are asked to ascertain that you are not at increased risk of potentially transmitting infection through transfusion. People are asked to exclude themselves from blood donation if any of the deferral criteria apply to them.

A finger prick test is performed in order to ascertain if your haemoglobin level is within a safe range for donation purposes. Potential donors will be permitted to donate only if this measurement is within the defined, acceptable range. If everything is in order you will proceed to donate your blood.

A sample of your blood will be tested to determine your ABO blood group and RhD type. Other tests will be performed to detect certain transfusion-transmissible infections such as hepatitis B and C viruses, HIV and syphilis. Not every infection in a person's blood can be detected by these blood tests. It is therefore vitally important that people who may have been infected with a transfusion-transmissible infection do not, under any circumstances donate blood.

After the tests have been performed, your blood will be used either as whole blood (transfused to one patient) or, after separation into its various components such as the red blood cells, platelets and plasma components, to help several patients.

Donors should be between the ages of 18 and 65, weigh at least 50 kg and not have donated blood within the previous 12 weeks (for males). The criteria, which are applied before a person can be accepted as a blood donor, are very strict. Not everyone can be a blood donor. This is designed to protect the health of the donor as well as the health of the patient who receives the blood.

For example, people who have certain medical conditions or who are taking certain types of medication are not permitted to donate blood. People whose sexual behaviour places them at increased risk of transmitting infections through transfusion are also not permitted to donate. If any of the deferral criteria apply to you, or if for any reason you think that your blood may be unsafe to transfuse to a patient, you are advised not to donate.

The mission of the blood transfusion service is to provide all patients with sufficient, safe, quality blood and blood products. If you are in any doubt about whether you should donate blood, please discuss it with a staff member. We know it can be disappointing if you are not able to give blood. However, we hope you will understand that our overriding responsibility is to ensure the safety of donors and the safety of the blood for patients.

National Blood  Transfusion Service (also known as Blood Bank) strives to maintain an optimum inventory level of a  five-day supply. Due to unpredictable demands for trauma patients, the inventory fluctuates daily. When the blood supply drops below a five-day level, it becomes problematic and no blood means patients are at risks like an acc ident victim, a cancer patient, a Thalassemia patient and many medical cases where patients lives depend on lood and blood components.

The need for blood affects us all. Eight out of ten people need blood or blood products at some time in our lives. One out of every ten patients in hospital requires blood transfusion. The number of blood donations that patients receive depends on their medical condition. Although an average of three donations is transfused to a patient, some patients require many more.

Blood is in constant demand for the treatment of patients involved in accidents, patients with anaemia, malaria, cancer or a bleeding disorder such as haemophilia. Many surgical operations would not be possible without the availability of blood. Blood may be needed during or following childbirth or for an exchange transfusion in newborn babies.

The need for blood never stops. Blood donors save lives. Every blood donation gives the person who receives it a new chance at life.

  • You are HIV positive
  • You are a hepatitis B carrier
  • You are a hepatitis C carrier
  • You are HTLV positive
  • You have ever had or been treated for syphilis and gonorrhoea
  • You have ever injected, or been injected with, drugs; even a long time ago or only once. This includes body-building drugs and injectable tanning agents. 
  • You are a male and had oral or anal sexual contact with another male
  • You have ever taken money, drugs or any other payment for sex
  • You had a sexual intercourse with anyone who takes money, drugs or other payment for sex