Search Menu

Influenza season and blood donation

12/28/2018 17:40

During the influenza season, many blood donors are wondering about the impact of flu on giving blood. After a milder bout of flu, you can donate blood as soon as you feel well and no longer have any symptoms. After a more severe respiratory tract, as inluenza or other infection with fever, the deferral period after the symptoms have disappeared, is two weeks.

Blood donors are needed steadily throughout the year, but during the influenza season, many donors are wondering about the impact of flu on giving blood.

Influenza is one of the most common reasons why a blood donor is not able to donate blood. In 2017, it was the sixth most common reason for refusal of donors who had already registered for a blood donation session.

To avoid a wasted journey, you can carry out a quick Can I donate? test before planning to donate blood. The test helps to assess the seriousness of the flu.

The basic rule is that you must be healthy and feel well before donating blood. However, it is not always that simple to assess the situation.

– If you are uncertain about your own condition, you can ask yourself whether you can do any exercise already. If you cannot imagine, for example, going for a brisk walk, a swim or to the gym, you are still not well enough to donate blood, advises physician Johanna Castrén from the Blood Service.

After flu, you can donate blood when...


After a mild respiratory tract infection with no raised temperature:
- When you have recovered and are symptom-free, i.e. you no longer have tickly cough or a sore throat.


After a severe respiratory tract infection, as influenza or some other infection with a fever:
- A severe respiratory tract infection means that your temperature has exceeded 38 degrees Celsius, your doctor has diagnosed influenza or you have needed a course of antibiotics.
- The disease can also be defined as severe when you have felt feverish even when no temperature has been measured.
-  When you have recovered, wait another two weeks before donating blood.

If you have been hospitalised:

If you have needed treatment in the hospital or intravenous antibiotics due to influenza or a localised infection, wait for three months before your next blood donation.

Further information: free donor number 0800 05801