Myths and facts about blood donation
By Solomon Fowowe
World Blood donor day is celebrated every 14th of June annually in many countries across the World. The celebration day coincides with the birthday Anniversary of Austrian Scientist Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the ABO blood group system. According to the World Health Organization, the day raises awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. The theme of this year’s World Blood donor day is ‘Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life’.
Blood product includes whole blood, blood components, and plasma derivatives. It is any therapeutic substance prepared from human blood.
Blood donation helps make blood available to millions that need transfusion of blood and blood products.
The blood donated helps save millions of lives each year. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters. Blood transfusion also helps patients with life threatening conditions live longer. It is useful in medical and surgical procedures too.
However, there are myths concerning blood donation that discourages most people from blood donation. Here we burst the blood donation myths.
MYTH 1: Blood donation hurts
Fact: The needle prick is the only pain one feels when donating blood. The area on the arm heals within a day or two. The weakness post donating blood can be dealt with by drinking plenty of water and eating.
MYTH 2: Smokers cannot be blood donors
Fact: You can donate even if you are smoker. However, you must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 50 kilograms. Also, you should avoid smoking for three hours after donating blood and also stay away from alcohol for 24 hours.
MYTH 3: Donating blood makes the immune system weak
Fact: There is no such lasting danger to the immune system when you donate blood. While the Red Blood Cells return to normal within a few days, the White Blood Cells take a few weeks, However, if the body finds itself in danger, they can be produced quickly.
Read More: World Blood Donor Day 2018: Five health benefits of donating blood
MYTH 4: Blood donation consumes time
Fact: Blood donation takes 45 minutes to an hour, only. The donation process itself takes barely 10-12 minutes, but the entire process from filling out forms to taking refreshments after donation takes that amount of time.
MYTH 5: Blood donation causes obesity
Fact: Blood donation doesn’t affect your body weight at all, it remains unchanged unless you decide to reward yourself with too much junk post-donation — and that, my friend, is your responsibility and has nothing to do with blood donation, so stop finding excuses.
MYTH 6: Weightier people are more eligible to donate blood than lighter ones
Fact: What even? As long as you weigh above 50 kgs, donating blood has nothing more to do with your weight — only because a person below that weight would probably have to face relatively more weakness issues than a person who is above 50 kgs. Also, your weight has nothing to do with the amount of blood your body produces!
MYTH 7: Blood donation is not for diabetic people
Fact: You cannot donate blood only and only if you take supplements to fix your diabetes, like insulin. You CAN donate blood if you control your diabetes with the help of lifestyle changes and pills. Those who have heart problems and blood pressure from type 2 diabetes, however, might not be able to donate in exceptional cases.
MYTH 8: You cannot donate blood if you have high blood pressure
Fact: Those with blood pressure between 180 systolic and 100 diastolic can very well donate blood. This frame might be considered high, but it does not isolate you from donating blood. Moreover, blood pressure medicines do not interfere with the process at all.
MYTH 9: Seasonal allergies disqualify you from blood donation
Fact: Seasonal allergies do not interfere with blood donation, just like any other mild cold and cough does not affect your daily routine. So, “I have a cold,” is an absolutely lame excuse for not giving your blood to someone who needs it.
MYTH 10: A blood donor is prone to infections
Fact: A fresh needle is used for each blood donor. So, there is no chance of an infection that is usually assumed to be transferred from needles — like HIV — from blood donation.