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Can Thyroid & Autoimmune Disease Patients Donate Blood?
As the Terrorist Attacks Generate a Call for Blood Donations, Can Thyroid & Autoimmune Patients Donate Blood?
 Join the Discussion
"This is so terrifying - Right now there are a lot of airplane noises over my house and I am feeling in a panic. Of course that's the point of terrorism - terror. My office window looks out on the runways of Logan. I drank my first cup of coffee at work this morning idly watching planes take off. I've never given blood before, but I will this week...."
  Sept. 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack / Resources
•  U.S. Attacked -- Updated News Info & Chronology
•  Rumor Watch: Terrorist Attacks on U.S.
•  Why Do I Feel Like This?
•  Healing Perspective: Tragedy Brings Greater Awareness
•  What Can We Do To Create a Better World

by Mary J. Shomon

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, there's been an unprecedented call for blood donation. As a person with a thyroid condition or autoimmune disease, can you answer that call, and donate blood? Here are some guidelines.

First, donors must be at least 18, usually weigh at least 110 pounds and not have donated blood within the last 60 days.

Hypothyroid patients who are taking levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid), Cytomel, Thyrolar, or natural thyroid products like Armour and are in the normal thyroid range can give blood if they don't have any other precluding conditions.

Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism patients who are on antithyroid medicines, or who are not currently in normal thyroid range, cannot give blood.

Anyone with any other autoimmune disease should not give blood, unless they are asymptomatic and off all medications for one month.

There is a chart online listing the most common reasons you can't give blood. But, in terms of thyroid patients, and some of the more common autoimmune disease, you specifically should NOT give blood if you have:

  • Addison's Disease
  • Adrenal Disorders
  • Sinus or respiratory infections, colds or flu symptoms
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis, if you're on steroids or immunosuppressive drugws
  • Lupus, unless asymptomatic, and off all medication for at least a month
  • Multiple sclerosis
Also, you can't give blood if you:
  • Have ever used illegal intravenous drugs, even once
  • Are a man who has had sex with another man since 1977, even once
  • Are a hemophiliac
  • Have had a positive HIV test
  • Have had hepatitis any time after your eleventh birthday
  • Have had cancer (except localized skin cancer)
  • Have had a heart attack or stroke
  • Have taken Tegison for psoriasis
Detailed lists of drugs you might be taking and whether they preclude your giving blood is located as a PDF file at Medication Reference List.

And a detailed list of medical conditions that can affect your ability to give blood is listed as a PDF file at Medical Conditions Guidelines.

If you want to donate blood, contact your local hospital, or call the Red Cross at 1-800 GIVE LIFE, or visit the Red Cross website, at www.redcross.org.

Hear Recorded Thyroid Information from Mary Shomon, or Schedule a Live Call by Phone!


Whether it's a free email newsletter or report about thyroid disease, the latest books that help you live well with your thyroid condition, or support and information from fellow thyroid patients, you'll find a variety of resources here at the About Thyroid site.

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