Quick question: how many times have you turned down the chance to donate blood? Quite a few times, right? As we gear up for World Blood Donor Day today (June 14), let’s bust some common myths so that you, and many others, donate blood without fear and save a life.
Myth 1: It will make you weak
This is hands down the most common blood donation (BD) myth people believe in. Last year, India’s largest community of verified doctors, Curofy, asked doctors about the most common BD myth via a poll. Of the 2,560 doctors who weighed in, 78.1% confirmed that most people believe that it causes weakness.
In reality, you will only feel lightheaded or slightly dizzy after the procedure (plus, many donation centres will give you something to consume to quickly restore your energy). According to Bloodconnect, only 350-450ml of blood is taken during a donation session and the human body has enough blood to donate without any ill-effects, plus, after donation, the body makes new blood so there’s absolutely no reason to worry. No long-term “weakness” is seen in a healthy blood donor. (PS: an unfit person will not be allowed to donate blood in the first place).
Myth 2: There is a high risk of contracting communicable diseases
This is the second most common misconception and sadly, it is believed along with the first myth. Many people believe that since BD weakens you, you are more prone to contracting infectious or contagious diseases like HIV. The person undergoing the transfusion should be more worried about contracting something – if we lived in the 20th century, that is! In our times, medical science has advanced so much that the chances of contracting any infection are next to none. Blood donors have to be screened before they donate, meaning you cannot give blood if you do not pass all the requisite medical tests. Medical tests are just as rigorous and extensive for the ones undergoing a transfusion. Plus, the antiseptic that will be administered before you give blood and the sterile medical equipment used to collect it will ensure you are as safe as can be.
Myth 3: It is painful and time consuming
No and no. It is just as painful as a pin prick…and hey, don’t you take injections for swine flu, tetanus, etc? Plus, the whole procedure only takes about an hour at most.
Myth 4: Vegetarians, menstruating women and old people shouldn’t do it
Folks believe that vegetarians have less Iron in their blood than non-vegetarians. This one doesn’t even make sense as food items like leafy greens are rich in iron. The key here is a balanced diet. Therefore, a vegetarian is as qualified to donate as a non-vegetarian – if their iron and haemoglobin levels are on fleek.
And ladies, have no qualms about blood donation when you are on your period. Just like any other donor, you should only do it if you are pronounced medically fit and feel up to it. And as long as you are legal and fit, age isn’t a limiting factor either.
Myth 5: It causes infertility and impotence
Since there is no logic involved, let’s just say there is no base to thoughts like these, okay? Both a man and a woman who are trying to conceive can donate blood without any repercussions.
Apart from these myths, I am sure you have some doubts of your own. Feel free to consult your doctor and of course, get a proper medical checkup done. And only after you are deemed medically fit, head to the hospital or blood donation camp of your choice.
Women suffering from childbirth complications, cancer patients, victims of natural disasters and accidents, even babies — there’s no end to the number of people who could need your blood to live. The question is, are you prepared to be their saviour?
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Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar