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Blood drive highlights Washington's new tattoo standards

A woman smiles before getting her blood drawn by Puget Sound Blood Center last month. To donate to a Sept. 12 blood drive in Federal Way, call (253) 334-6029. - Josh Nelson/For The Mirror
A woman smiles before getting her blood drawn by Puget Sound Blood Center last month. To donate to a Sept. 12 blood drive in Federal Way, call (253) 334-6029.
— image credit: Josh Nelson/For The Mirror

Fact: A person who receives a tattoo or piercing in a state licensed shop no longer has to wait one year before giving blood.

To raise awareness about this development, one barista is partnering with Puget Sound Blood Center and All Hope Aside Tattoo and Art Gallery in Federal Way. Together they are sponsoring a blood drive from 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 12.

 

A little while ago, something like this couldn't have happened. Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho recently began licensing their tattoo shops.

“There are higher health standards involved with becoming licensed,” said Peter Dominguez, co-owner of All Hope Aside. “Now that those standards are met, we can give you a tattoo and then you can give blood right after.”

However, if a person has received a tattoo or piercing from somewhere other than a state-licensed shop, there is a one year deferral.

“That rule was established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” said David Larsen, communications director for the Puget Sound Blood Center. “It was put in place to ensure that no infection or disease was transmitted during the tattoo process.”

Larsen said that licensing has effectively eliminated the need for the one year deferral because of the lower risk to the public blood supply.

“When it comes to blood, it's all about maximizing safety, so a tattoo done in a sterile and hygienic environment presents very little risk,” he said.

(Pictured: Brandi Feil, blood drive organizer)

 

Donating blood on Sept. 12

Brandi Feil, organizer of the blood drive, has been thinking about organizing this kind of event at a tattoo shop for a long time.

Peter Dominguez and José Camarillo, co-owners of All Hope Aside, were more than happy to oblige.

“Puget Sound Blood Center seemed really interested in doing this,” Feil said. “They don't really attract this type of crowd and they're always interested in new donors.”

All it took for Feil to get the ball rolling was a desire to organize the drive and a location for Puget Sound Blood Center's bus to draw blood.

Larsen explained that on Sept. 12, the blood center will park one of its buses at All Hope Aside, 2016 S. 320th St., and will draw blood from two people at a time.

“If you've donated with us before, the process will be quick,” Larsen said. “If not, we'll have you take a questionnaire in order to get some background information on your health.”

After finishing the questionnaire, a small amount of the potential donor's blood will be tested for hemoglobin levels. The donor's blood pressure will also be tested.

“This is to ensure maximum safety on both sides of the process,” Larsen said.

From beginning to end, the donation process should take about 45 minutes. After giving blood, the donors will receive fruit juice and cookies. This helps restore lost fluids as well as raise the donor's blood sugar.

“Some, but very few people, have gotten lightheaded before, but we'll have volunteers on-site to make sure everything is OK,” said Larsen.

Most donors give about one pint of blood, and after the day is through, that blood will undergo about 15 different tests to ensure everything is satisfactory.

The blood may then be separated into its base parts — red blood cells, platelets, plasma, etc. — or remain as whole blood, which has a shelf life of 42 days.

Every donor can give blood once every 56 days, which is roughly six times per year.

The blood drive on Sept. 12 is important for Puget Sound Blood Center because during the summer, donations actually go down.

“People go on vacation and can't donate,” Larsen said. “Also there are very few schools and colleges in session, which is where we get a lot of donations. This drive will give us a chance to help rebuild the community blood supply.”

Learn more

Although a majority of the donations are set up beforehand, Brandi Feil said that walk-ins will be welcome.

To learn more or donate, contact Feil at (253) 334-6029 or email brandifeil@gmail.com. Also visit psbc.org.

 

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