Giving Blood - this may be a stupid question!


Just wondering if you know if you can be a blood donor if you have asthma & are on treatment (just usual ventolin, becotide & serevent & have had pred a couple of times)? I went with a friend tonight to see what it was like (had a bit of a phobia about it for ever but feel it is something I should do at least once) & the nurse said that if you are on medication or under doctors treatment then you cant give blood so after all that getting geed up to do it today I didnt even get passed the finger prick stage & wasnt allowed to do it. Seems a bit odd to me? I've got dodgy lungs but nothing wrong with my blood as far as i know?

17 Replies

  • it depends on exactly which drugs you are on, they usually get you to see a doctor for an assessment if there is any doubt.

    there is a number you can phone for more info: 0845 7 711 711 which I got from the blood transfusion website ( -they might be able to tell you if you would be accepted without actually going along.

    please do give blood if they will let you - it is so important for patients to have access to it if needed.


  • Nah. No. And Negative.

    I give blood regularly. Pred may be a problem, but as long as you are stable asthma-wise then there is no reason why not.

    I have never had a problem (becotide, serevent, montelukast), I have always been a good girl and 'fessed up to all my meds, and after a quick check with the session doc away I go.

    Just a matter of passing the finger prick-test... ;)

  • Oooops, cross posted with Owl - wasn't saying ""nah, no and negative"" to you!!

  • I tried once about 9 years ago and they wouldn't have mine, but then I have brittle asthma and was on a lot of meds. I was told at the time that I would have to be controlled on inhalers only for them to allow it, but clearly from Cathy's experience montelukast is permitted now.

    No free tea and biscuits for me :(

  • I've never been allowed to give blood either, but then like EmH, I'm also very brittle and on a lot of meds, so I guess it's not too surprising.

    Em, you can come up to mine and have free tea and biscuits, and I promise not to stab you with any needles too!

  • Thanks Owl & CathBear - I'll give the blood phone number a call. Was a bit annoyed as waited 90 mins with my completed questionnaire to be told ""no thanks for coming down though"" but hey-ho its important thats why I wanted to do it in the first place despite being completely petrified of the needle & seeing lots of blood so I will try again!

    I figured if I do it once then at least 1 person will be helped. Anyway, I'll give them a call to see if its worth going & trying again they were so busy tonight - my friend usually waits max 20 mins but tonight it was 2 hours from start to finish & her blood bit only took 10 mins! Maybe thats why they wanted to get rid of me - just straight forward donors when busy or something?! Anyway busy for them is great news I guess!

  • Hi EmH & Becky - was still allowed biscuits whilst was waiting with my friend so it wasnt a complete waste of time! I dont have biscuits at home as a rule. I had a lovely custard cream & one of those chocolate bourbon things yummy!!

  • Actually my one and only attempt to give blood is quite a funny story.

    I was in the second year at med school and they were having a big recruitment drive to try to get more people to give blood; they were piling on the pressure by saying things like 'how can you expect to be good doctors if you can't even be bothered to give blood' - oh good, guilt!

    Myself and my three pals trundled round from the med school to the hospital and found the blood giving place. My mate G duely had his Hb check and gave his unit (he'd had black pudding for breakfast so be was feeling confident). One of my other friends is Asian and tiny, she was weighed and told that she was too small, if they took a whole unit she would go into hypovolaemic shock. My third friend attempted to give a unit and the needle fell out half-way through (she'd like to think they used it for a baby but I think they just binned it) and my attempt failed from the start too.

    So out of four of us they managed to get one unit of blood; ironically G is now also unable to donate due to certain 'lifestyle' choices that he's made since then which the Blood Service deem high risk.

    And yes, actually, I lied before, we did all hang around to scoff the free biscuits. To add insult to injury as far as the Blood Service are concerned, our conversation over tea and biscuits turned to transfusion reactions, which then led us to discuss allergic reactions, which then resulted in my mates deciding that then would be a good time for me to demonstrate the workings of my Epipen to them. I got it out to demonstrate and promptly managed to trigger it, injecting myself in the thigh with adrenaline and then recoiling and managing to stick the needle in my friend's finger. The woman opposite, who had been looking a little ghostly for a while, promptly passed out and hit her head on the table.

    The nurses with the needles were heard to mutter 'God help us when this lot become doctors' as we left the room....

    And I had a tachycardia for hours.

  • I give blood, the only times I've been refused was when I've been on pred and when I was changing meds. Having said that I go to the blood donation centre in Manchester, its a permanent centre thats open 5 days a week.

    I take symbicourt, singulair, lotaradine, nasonex and bricanyl. I was also on theophylline for a while and they were fine with that too.

    I usually go and tell them I feel that my asthma is stable that day. If you feel a bit rough with your asthma they will always be cautious and ask you not to give blood as they don't want to cause you to have an attack.

    Next time you go ask to speak to the head nurse they seem to know what they are talking about.

  • heeheehee a classic! :o)

  • Te he Em, I like it!

    You can't give blood if you're on pred (cos of the possibility of it masking infections I was told) or within a week of taking it. I was also told that other asthma stuff was ok and I've certainly donated when on inhalers.

    the national blood service people are very helpful on the phone. Also might be worth seeing if anywhere near you allows you to book appointments times, some do, to make sure you don't get such a wait!

  • Class, Em!

    I got into giving blood because my Dad did - when I was in my mid-teens, one of his workmates was involved in a huge car-crash, and was given a number of units of blood. Unfortunately, the workmate didn't make it - but my Dad's work thought it would be a fitting homage to all team up and go together to give blood.

    I have a lot of admiration for my Dad doing this, as he had always been petrified of needles and would go ghostly white at the sight of anything even vaguely squeamish on the TV. But he became a regular blood donor, and continued until they gave him a bit of a break when he was found to be slightly anaemic. So, as soon as I was 18, I joined in and started donating.

    It really hit home how important blood donation is one night when I was on-call doctor for general medicine early on in my hospital career - I poured about 14 units of blood into a gentleman's veins as he persisted in pouring it mostly out of his bottom from a huge GI bleed. That blood - and IV fluids really wouldn't have cut it - kept him alive until we could muster the endoscopy team to scope him and seal off his bleeding ulcer. He left hospital a week later, thankfully alive and well.

    So....please give blood, if you possibly can - and if you can't (as a lot of people on here won't, no matter how much they want to) please encourage others to do so.

  • thanks all for brightening up my lunch hour!!!

    I'll go along and try necxt time I get a chance - used to go many years ago as a student, but had thought they wouldn't want me now ....

    Thinking about it though, if they were happy to take my blood/alcohol mix from student days, then my inhalers should be nothing to worry about....



  • Thanks, I needed a kick up the backside on this, I've been using the not knowing if I'm still allowed to give blood excuse since I was diagnosed. It does terrify me (I get laughed at by the nurses for being so scared!) but it's far too important for that to count as a reason not to go.

  • i give blood when i can - as long as not on pred at the time. am on montelukast and thats no probs - they ahve a book of things to check when you there. I also rang the number 1st - 1stly to get appt so nto ahve to wait as long, but also to check so as nto waste my time or their time. Definately good thing to do if you can x

  • First timers take longer to process and to bleed so they do like to have you there well before close of play. I would strongly recommend booking an appointment - you can wait for ever if you haven't done so and then it appears that everyone and their dog is being done before you.

  • The people on the give blood helpline are great & can advise you specifically. I used to be a regular donor but they said I can't now because of pred (the oral steroids), theophylline & other bone drugs.

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