Medical science and myths have a long history. Similarly, the myths about blood donation are widespread, which keep people from participating in something that has the ability to save many lives.
World Blood Donation Day is this month (June 14) so we figured it's time to debunk some myths and put some minds at ease about the blood donation process.
While there are many blood donation myths, the three most common ones are debunked below:
Myth 1: I have a tattoo, so I can never donate blood.
Having a tattoo on your body doesn't mean you can't donate blood.
Firstly, it's always safe to choose a licensed tattoo artist. They use safe equipment and follow all precautionary steps like using sterile needles before the procedure.
Secondly, you may wait for up to 12 months after getting a tattoo before blood donation. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that you've not developed any diseases from the tattoo needle.
Myth 2: Older adults can't donate blood.
Any older teenager or adult can donate blood, as long as they’re healthy. Otherwise, anyone above the age 16 and weighing more than 50 kgs of body weight can donate blood.
Older people can save the lives of people similarly as any adult can. If you're generally healthy, you're good to go.
Every two seconds in the USA, someone needs blood. Sadly, the stored RBCs can only be stored for 42 days. With so much need for fresh blood, reconsider donating blood and disregard the “age” myth.
Myth 3: My blood group is common, so I don’t need to donate blood.
When the blood type is unknown in emergencies, doctors search for O- blood group because it's a universal donor. But, the percentage of O- blood donors is only seven percent in the USA.
In emergencies, the most common blood used is O+ and 38 percent of the US population has an O+ blood group.
So, rare or not, each blood type is valuable and can prove helpful in numerous situations. Talking factually, 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusion each year, and your donation can save someone's life.
Other Blood Donation Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
Blood donation can make you weak or sick: Within 48 hours of donating, your blood volume returns to normal. Within 4-8 weeks, your body will replace the lost red blood cells.
People on medication can’t donate blood: This is not true in every case. It’s best to consult a doctor to check whether your current medications affect your eligibility to donate blood.
You must donate blood only once each year: It takes just about 8 weeks for blood cells to replenish. So, it’s safe to donate blood once every three months.
Blood donation is one of the simplest ways to improve health and save the lives of many people. So, believe in facts (not myths) and spread awareness about blood donation.