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LIFE IN DENMARK

What are Denmark’s rules for giving blood?

What should you know if you live in Denmark and would like to be a blood donor?

What are Denmark’s rules for giving blood?
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark announced this week that it is to change a decades-old rule and allow men who have had same-sex relationships to give blood, albeit only if they have not had sex for four months prior to donating.

READ ALSO: Denmark changes 1988 health legislation to allow gay men to give blood

Several other rules further limit who can give blood in Denmark, meanwhile, including some applicable if you have lived abroad.

What are the country’s rules determining who may and who may not be a blood donor?

You are not allowed to give blood if you:

  • Think you may be infected with HIV or hepatitis

Rules applying to the last four months

You are not allowed to give blood if you:

  • Have had sex within the last four months with someone who has been exposed to infection through:
  • sex with another person who is HIV-positive or carries hepatitis
  • sexual intercourse with a person from a geographical area where HIV or hepatitis B and C are ‘prevalent’ among the population. This includes all of Asia, all of Africa and South and Central America.
  • Have had a tattoo or a piercing

Lifetime rules

You are not allowed to give blood if you:

  • Are a man and have had had sexual contact with another man – (note: this rule will change in March this year).
  • Have worked as a sex worker
  • Have been an intravenous drug user
  • Share or have shared a needle with others
  • Have received treatment for haemophilia prior to 1988

Travel restrictions

People who have lived or spent time abroad may also be prevented from giving blood in Denmark. This is particularly relevant to people from the United Kingdom.

If you have spent 12 months or more in the UK between 1980 and 1996, you may not give blood due to the theoretical possibility of transmitting Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

The Danish Blood Bank has a travel quarantine list in which certain travel destinations result in an obligatory pause from giving blood upon return, ranging from 4 weeks to 6 months. A list of the relevant locations can be found here (in Danish).

People who have lived for 6 months or more during the first 5 years of life in areas considered at 'red' or high risk for disease transmission (check location using this map) must wait 3 years to give blood following their most recent stay or visit to a 'red' area.

Additional rules:

To be allowed to give blood, the following general health requirements apply. You must be:

  • Between 17 and 60 years old
  • In good health
  • At least 50 kilograms in weight.

Sources: bloddonor.dk, DR

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For members

WEATHER

Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and autumn, spring and summer)

Winter in Denmark is a shock to the system, particularly for those of us who come from warmer, drier climes. But if you know where to look, you can find the right rain gear to keep the Danish drops off your head.

Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be
Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be "træls" (bothersome) if you're kitted out in the right water resistant gear. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

This roundup is unsponsored and the fruits of much googling, review-reading, and recommendation-begging by a sad, damp American.

Where to shop? 

To try things on, the best places are Intersport, Spejder Sport (home to Columbia, Patagonia, Asivik and FjällRaven) and Eventyr Sport, as well as outdoor outfitter Friluftsland.  

To shop the Danish way, put in the hours combing the racks at your local second hand or charity shop. If you strike out there, search by brand on DBA.dk or Facebook marketplace.

Rain jackets: Regnjakker

Your rain jacket is your second skin in Denmark during the damp winter months. Helly Hansen is a go-to brand, according to a Johannes, a Jutland native who offered his recommendation to The Local. The Norwegian company offers well-made jackets at a reasonable price point, ranging between 600 and about 1,500 kroner. These can be ordered direct from the manufacturer or on Amazon.de (the German one) for delivery in Denmark—if you want to try before you buy, go to Eventyr Sport.  

A budget pick is McKinley, which you can pick up at Intersport. These cost between 200-400 kroner.

The classic Scandinavian splurge rain jacket is Fjällräven—these are available in stand-alone Fjällräven stores, Friluftsland, Eventyr, and Spejder Sport, and cost a not-unsubstantial percentage of your rent starting at about 2,500 kroner and climbing north of 6,000 kroner.

Rain pants: regnbukser

Rain pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bike cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers you’ll understand the appeal.

The New York Times’ product review service Wirecutter highlights the Marmot PreCip Eco Pant as the best pick—here in Denmark, they’re available for men and women at outdoor gear purveyor Friluftsland for about 700-800 kroner.

McKinley also makes rain pants that will set you back around 200 kroner.  

Some of Patagonia’s rain pants, which we found at Spejder Sport, have side zippers for ventilation—if you’re on the sweatier side, this may be a good call. (Their website also proudly reports these rainpants roll up to the “size of a corncob.”)

Rain sets: regnsæt

Also on the market are rain sets, which are coordinating jacket-pant combos like this one from Asivik. It’s cheaper to buy the set rather than both pieces separately, but for many people it makes more sense to invest in a higher-quality rain jacket and go for a more affordable rain pant.

Backpack rain covers: regnslag til rygsæk

Backpack rain covers are an easy buy and cost orders of magnitude less than the laptops and other electronics they protect. Snag one on the way out the door at Intersport, Spejder Sport, or most anywhere that sells rain gear. Expect to pay about 60-180 kroner—just make sure it fits your backpack.

Gloves: Handsker

Your favourite fluffy mittens may not be well suited for your bike commute. GripGrab, a Danish company popular all over the world, offers a variety of waterproof and winterproof gloves— including the lobster style, which has split fingers that allow you the dexterity to ring your bell, pull your hand break and do a Spock impression at a moment’s notice. These are available at specialty cycling stores.

Rain boots: Gummistøvler

Perfectly serviceable budget rainboots are available at the same retail stores discussed above—though for longevity, look for boots made from rubber rather than PVC.

At a higher price point, Hunter rainboots are sold by Danish online retail giant Zalando and keep you dry and in style.

Tretorn is a Swedish brand over a hundred years old—their rain boots are available for both men and women through Spejder Sport and, of course, their website.

For women: available on the German Amazon website is the Asgard Women’s Short Rain Waterproof Chelsea Boot, one of the best reviewed women’s rain boots that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing clown shoes.

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