6 Myths About Donating Blood-Busted!
Don’t fall for hearsay. Find out if you can donate blood and make a real difference
Blood donation is regarded as a noble service. However, most people tend to get nervous at the thought of donating blood—the sharp syringe or blood oozing out of their veins or worries about air bubbles in the tubes.
But, it has been proven beyond doubt that donating blood could be healthy and benefit the donor’s physical and emotional health and often act as a screening test for one's body. The United Nations has declared 14 June as World Blood Donor Day to encourage voluntary blood donation.
Here, we bust some of the most common myths around blood donation:
Myth 1: Blood donation is a painful process
Fact: In reality, the prick of the needle inserted into your vein does not hurt much. It's nothing beyond a small insect bite. The area on the arm, where it is pierced, heals within a day or two. You could feel mild exhaustion after donating blood, but this can be overcome by having a fruit or fruit juice afterwards. Drinking plenty of water helps too.
Myth 2: Donating blood hits our immunity
Fact: There are no worries about blood donation affecting your immune system or making you weak. According to Dr Anju Verma, chief medical officer at Rotary Blood Bank, Delhi, around 30 per cent of the blood produced in our body that remains unutilized by the organs. "After donating, the red blood cells regenerate in a few hours and new blood is produced," she says.
Myth 3: A blood donor can pick up infections
Fact: Health agencies like the World Health Organization work across countries to ensure safe blood donation.
Indian Red Cross and other blood banks follow strict guidelines like using sterilized needles while collecting blood, every time, and other safety precautions. These are done to prevent transmission of infections.
The Indian Red Cross society has also initiated mobile blood collection units in certain areas, making the process easy and convenient for donors.
Myth 4: You should not donate blood if you are diabetic
Fact: Unless you are dependent on a daily dose of insulin and other supplements, donating blood is considered safe.
Myth 5: Women should not donate blood
Fact: Women are perfectly eligible for blood donation. The only time they cannot is when they have a low haemoglobin count or are anaemic. That holds true for men too. According to Verma 12.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter (125 grams per liter) is required for a donor to donate blood. Anything less than that is not considered eligible.
Women who are pregnant should not donate blood.
Myth 6: Do not donate if you are too young or old
Fact: You are never too young or old to donate blood. Verma says that while the lower limit for donating blood is usually set at 18 years, the upper age limit is 65 years. According to the Indian Red Cross Society, many donors in India are in their fifties and sixties.
For more information on blood donation, visit the following websites:
World Health Organization : https://www.who.int/bloodsafety/voluntary_donation/en/
Indian Red Cross Society: www.indianredcross.org