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Cystic Fibrosis and Donating Blood

Blood SampleIt appears that I didn’t quite explain the process that I went through to determine if I could donate blood or not. For one, I never used to weigh enough, so I’d only entertain the idea during those times where I’d hit 118 for a day or so and then lose it again.

I called the blood bank first and asked if it was okay if a CFer gave blood and their main concern related to me having CF was whether or not I was on antibiotics. I explained that I go months without IVs and I nebulize an antibiotic every day. She didn’t care about that sort of antibiotic. I followed that up by saying that I was on Zithromax on M/W/F, but I could give blood on Sunday mornings at church. She said it’d be out of my system, so that was fine.

She did advise me to answer “no” to the question about taking antibiotics because it would lead to one of two things:

  • two or three questions that would result in them marking a “no” so the blood is accepted into the system or
  • a denial to give blood that day because the tech is overly cautious.

My next step was to ask Sue (my coordinator, for those who are new to the game) if it was okay per her and the doctors, and it was as long as the blood bank didn’t have any problems taking my blood. Keep in mind, though, that I don’t take any antibiotics on a daily basis, no prednisone, no aspirin (because I’m allergic to NSAIDs), and I haven’t been on IVs since February. Someone who is on IVs every month or every couple of months may get a different answer from the blood bank.

I was in! My iron levels are good (13.4), I weighed 122 this morning, and drank a Gatorade right after this time – my second time. Regarding the iron, I was a 12.6 last time and I just read that the limit for donating is a 12, so I’m on the low end, but rising. I am going to start donating platelets next because they told me there is an office about 5 minutes from our house.


  1. I struggle with Anemia so donating blood is a no go for me. My numbers range in the 6’s and 7’s. When I get pregnant, it is significantly worse and I end up with Iron Transfusions- which are NO FUN! I have tried altering my diet to include more iron rich foods. Doesn’t work. I have tried OTC Iron pills. Doesn’t work. So I am tired and sluggish a lot of the time.

  2. This is interesting…when I tried to donate blood at 17 they told me “we don’t know what your blood would do to someone else’s body” so they didn’t let me. I would be PSYCHED if I could donate blood.

  3. greycardboardman says

    Bah, I hadn’t thought of it, but I regularly take Valium (diazepam) for anxiety-related problems, and it has a rather long half-life, meaning it’d remain in my blood for – potentially – over a week!

    Anyone receiving a transfusion might find themselves suddenly feeling incredibly at ease, regardless of their situation! :-O