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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can You Give Blood If You Are Inked?

Do you have tattoos? Do you also intend to give blood to save lives? If so, you should know that donating blood platelets or plasma has become increasingly more difficult, causing a drastic supply shortage. The American Red Cross is turning a lot of willing donors with tattoos away.

In 2002, the Food and Drug Administrated voted to continue to require people to stop giving blood after tattoo sessions. The vote is the reason why to this day, most people have to wait 12 months before they give blood again. The panelists recommended that blood banks check that tattoos were performed at licensed facilities, too. These votes are generally the reason we have the rules we have today.

The only exception to the waiting period rule is if the tattoo was received in a state that regulates the tattoo industry. Currently, some states do this.

You are eligible to donate after 2 weeks if you are healed without infection and received the tattoo/piercing in one of the following regulated states: AL, AK, AR, DE, HI, IA, KS, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, NE, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, and WV.

Giving blood after a tattoo is not entirely simple. When you go to a blood bank to give plasma, they ask you a series of questions to determine if you are eligible to donate. Obviously, they don't want to risk accepting contaminated blood, so they will ask about your sexual history, current health status and other related questions, including whether or not you have gotten a tattoo or piercing within the last twelve months.

If a blood bank doesn't mind taking your blood, you will have to declare which tattoo artist and parlor you used . This is all for the sake of the health of people who receive blood. The requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis.

If you should happen to contract a disease from a tattoo or piercing, it should show up in a screening after 12 months, which is the reason for the waiting period. 

So, even if body art is important to you, you may want to consider sacrificing your own desires for the benefit of others. With the current popularity of tattooing and the fact that so many people constantly add to their body art with new inkings, this is a real issue. Twelve months of your freedom to give blood is currently being assessed for each new tattoo.

I think this may be enough reason for some to reconsider inking their bodies. In my opinion, those who really value total freedom from labeling and stereotyping should preserve their natural skin. I know I am an old fart; however, I believe the most beautiful features of human beings are God-given. In fact, this is true of any art form -- nature dominates a facsimile. Go to the Grand Canyon and you will understand no picture, painting, film, or other rendering can capture the spirit that dwells there.

A human body is a beautiful creation. The outer expression of your soul you choose to share with others does not need to be stamped by a tattoo artist. Do you really believe an inking makes you more spiritual or more expressive? It is really just a "sell out" to someone who doesn't know you. Americans have bought into a fad that they will, unfortunately, wear until their last breath. If you are young and believe your likes and opinions won't change as you age, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

As a last caution, I'm sure many tattooed people give blood without waiting the required period of time. Their tattoos are probably hidden, and they lie about having the body art. In doing so, they jeopardize innocent folks who receive their blood. Some criminals are so desperate to acquire money  to continue their endeavors that they don't care about their fellow man. This is just one more indication of the lack of concern for the public good. Blood -- what gift could be more important to saving lives?

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