Debunking 5 Myths about Blood Donation

What Is Blood?

Blood is a vital bodily fluid and an essential thing for human life. It feels a bit sticky and has a thicker consistency compared to water. Every adult human has an average of 5-6 litres of blood, depending on size and weight. Blood is mainly involved in essential functions such as transportation, regulation and protection.

Why Is Blood Important?

Blood is essential for life to exist and to carry out vital biological processes. It circulates throughout the body and transports critical substances such as nutrients and oxygen required by the body’s cells. Blood also transports metabolic waste products away from the body’s cells.

There is no substitute for blood, as it cannot be synthesised yet. Generous blood donors are the only source of blood for a person in need of a blood transfusion.

Blood Donation

Every day, countless people lose their lives because patients do not get enough blood at the right time. There is a massive requirement for blood. However, donors are fewer. On the other hand, people donate blood voluntarily to help save lives. Blood donations are of different types catering to additional medical requirements.

Not many people are willing to donate blood for different reasons. In this article, we will debunk a few myths about blood donation. Read on.

Myths about Blood Donation Busted

Myth #1 – Blood donation hurts

Blood donation is not an agonising process. If you are Trypanophobic or have any fear of needles/syringes, be assured that blood donation does not hurt beyond the pinch of a needle and some pressure on the arm (tourniquet). It is a momentary sensation and fades away sooner.

Myth #2 – Blood donation takes a long time

It only takes about one hour from the start to finish of the complete process of blood donation. Once you register for the procedure, your health and vitals are checked to determine if you are fit to donate, and your travel history will be reviewed. It only takes about 8 -10 minutes to donate blood, after which you relax for some time before you leave.

Myth #3 – There are too many donors already

Unfortunately, that is not the truth. Maintaining enough supplies of blood is an ongoing challenge, as it comes with a restricted shelf life. Red Blood cells – one of the blood components must be used in 42 days, and donated platelets within five days. Consequently, there is a constant need for blood to be replenished. More and more donors are needed as each donor is carefully screened for different parameters. Several patients need particular blood groups. Blood banks can, at times, have an adequate supply of one blood group, while there could be a shortage of the other blood type.

Myth #4 – Blood donation cannot be made if you have tattoos

If you have tattoos or are pierced with a single-use apparatus from a parlour that is state regulated, you can go ahead and donate without any restriction. Otherwise, you will have to wait for one year before blood donation. This rule is subject to change based on different places, as some healthcare joints do not encourage blood donation in such cases.

Myth #5 – Vegetarians cannot donate blood

Your food preferences, whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, are not a matter of concern. You can donate blood even if you are a vegetarian as long as you meet the requirements of a donor and are healthy. It is a common misconception people hold that vegans cannot donate blood as meat-based food is richer in iron, and iron facilitates the production of haemoglobin in the body. However, some vegetarian food sources are rich in iron, such as legumes, green leafy vegetables, raisins, whole grains, etc.

Some points to consider before blood donation are

  • Drink plenty of water before blood donation.
  • Get adequate sleep the night before your blood donation day.
  • Before donation, eat a healthy meal – avoid fatty food and junk.
  • Check if you are taking any medications which would prevent you from donating. Let your physician know about your medical history and ongoing medications clearly.
  • Wear loose clothes that can be rolled up.

Before you donate blood, it is highly recommended to check with a healthcare physician for your eligibility and ensure you are healthy and fit to donate.