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Common myths about blood donation clarified

Know before you believe!

14th June of every year is marked as World Blood donor day! This year get your blood donation facts straight so you too can donate and make a difference without worries!

Here I have compiled together some of the common doubts and misconceptions people have asked me about blood donation.

If you have missed our previous article about the science behind blood donation, please do read it. It will help you understand these facts better!

Myth 1: Vegetarians cannot donate blood

Fact: The type of diet you follow has no correlation to blood donation. If you are a healthy adult without any specific reason to avoid donation, you can definitely go ahead and donate your blood

Myth 2: Blood donation is very painful

Fact: Momentary pain will be felt only when they insert/remove the intravenous (IV) cannula. There will be no continuous pain when the blood is being collected

Myth 3: Blood donation is very time consuming

Fact: the entire process from registration to donation will take about 45 min.

Myth 4 : Blood donation can give you some dangerous diseases like HIV

Fact: There is no risk of transmission of diseases during blood donation as you are not in contact with any diseased person. The blood collection process is carried out in a separate area using sterilized equipment.

Myth 5: Blood donation will weaken your immunity

Fact: The white blood cells and immunoglobulins are replenished within 2-6 weeks of donation. There is no effect on immunity due to blood donation. Also your body has many other mechanisms in place to protect you from infections other than your blood cells.

Myth 6: Blood donation will lower your hemoglobin and make you anemic

Fact: Healthy person with a hemoglobin above 12.5 gm/dl usually has around 6 liters of blood in their body. Out of this around 500 ml is collected when you donate. Your body replaces the lost blood volume within 1-2 days and all the cells by 2-6 weeks. So you will not become anemic by donating blood.

Myth 7: A woman cannot donate blood during her menstrual period

Fact: Ideally a healthy woman with normal menstrual cycles can donate blood even during her cycle. But if you are experiencing pain, cramps or heavy bleeding it is better to avoid donation.

Myth 8: Blood need not be donated. It can be manufactured if needed

Fact: Unfortunately medical science has not found a way to make human blood artificially. There are intravenous fluids that can be given temporarily to increase the blood volume but there is no artificial substitute to human blood.

Myth 9: Donating blood frequently can make you weak

Fact: This is not true. A healthy individual can donate blood up to 4 times a year with a gap of 3 months in between each donation.

Myth 10: Donating blood can make my blood sugar and blood pressure vary.

Fact: Blood donation has no effect on your blood pressure and blood sugar values. But if you have hypertension or diabetes and are on medications for it, it is advisable to speak to your doctor before you decide to donate.

Myth 11: Frequent blood donation can make you fat

Fact: This is not true. Blood donation has no effect on body weight. Sometimes after donation if you increase your food intake and avoid exercise for many days it may cause you to put on weight but this is not related to blood donation.

Myth 12: Only fat people can donate blood. People who are thin have less blood and therefore cannot donate.

Fact: If you are a healthy adult with a normal Body Mass Index as per your height and gender you can donate. It is not true that people with higher weight have more blood in their body.

References and further reading:

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