Myths and Facts about Blood Donation

myths and facts about blood donation

1: Donating blood makes me feel low.

Fact: False. However, many people feel that donating blood makes them feel weak. Again, this is not true. The thread of truth here arises from the fact that it takes a day or two to replenish the fluid volume in the body and three months for the regeneration of red cells to donate more blood.

2: One is advised to take complete rest for a day after donating blood.

Fact: False. One can easily resume his or her normal day-to-day routine after donating blood

3: Blood donation is a painful procedure.

Fact: False. Donating blood is not painful at all. One only feels a slight pinching sensation when the needle pricks the arms.

4: I should not donate blood frequently; it will make my body weak.

Fact: False. A healthy person can donate blood four times a year with a minimum of a 3-month gap between each blood donation.

5: Can donating blood makes me feel stressed with episodes of severe headache and vomiting?

Fact: No, blood donation cannot cause episodes of a headache and vomiting if the blood pressure of the donor is within normal limits prior to donation.

6: I should not donate blood frequently; it will lower my body’s immunity level.

Fact: No, your body’s immunity level is not affected by blood donation.

7: Donating blood frequently can fluctuate my blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Fact: No, the blood pressure and blood sugar levels do not fluctuate provided the pre-donation values are within normal limits. A diabetic patient on insulin cannot donate blood.

8: Can donating blood at frequent intervals make my body iron deficient?

Fact: No, a healthy individual with good eating habits can donate blood four times a year with a gap of three months. It doesn’t make anybody iron deficient.

9: I am a retired person; I think I am too old to donate blood.

Fact: Yes, a person above 60 years and below 18 years cannot donate blood.

10: I cannot donate blood when I am fasting.

Fact: Yes, one should have had a good meal at least four hours before donation.

11: You cannot be a blood donor if you are on any kind of medication.

Fact: Yes, a person on aspirin, antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, steroids, hormones, anticoagulants, on inhalers cannot donate blood.

12: Can a pregnant lady donate blood?

Fact: No, pregnant women are not allowed to donate blood.

13: Can I donate blood, if I am nursing my baby/breastfeeding?

Fact: No, nursing mothers should not donate blood for at least six weeks after giving birth because donating blood affects the fluid level in the body and may also affect the milk supply.

14: Can I donate blood, if I have consumed alcohol a day before?

Fact: No, it is not advisable to consume alcohol a day before donating blood.

15: Can I donate blood, if I smoke regularly?

Fact: Yes, but abstain from smoking one hour before and after donation.

16: Regular blood donation may lead to obesity.

Fact: False. Donating blood does not affect your body weight. However, some people, after blood donation, eat more food than normal and avoid exercise which may cause weight gain but it is not directly connected to blood donation.

17: I can’t give blood because I have seasonal allergies.

Allergies, even those that need to be controlled by medication, will not prevent you from donating blood as long as symptoms are mild and you are generally feeling well.

18: I can’t give blood because I have high blood pressure.

As long as your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (top number) and 100 diastolic (bottom number) at the time of your donation, you may give blood. Furthermore, medications that you may be taking for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating.

19: I can’t give blood because I have high cholesterol.

A high cholesterol level does not disqualify you from donating even if medication is used to control it.

20: I can’t give blood because I’m diabetic.

Diabetics may donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met. Blood Sugar under control and stable. However, the use of bovine-derived insulin will result in deferral from blood donation.

21: I can’t give blood because I have epilepsy or seizures.

Epilepsy or seizures do not disqualify you from donating.

22: I can’t donate because I’m anemic.

Your hematocrit (iron) level will be checked prior to donating blood. As long as levels are normal on the day of donation, you may give.

23: I can’t give blood because I had a flu shot.

In fact, you may donate blood the same day you receive the vaccination as long as you are feeling well.

24: I can’t give blood because I’m on medication.

In nearly all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as you are healthy and the condition is under control, you will very likely be able to donate.

So it’s better to ask the doctor about the it rather than believing

Before Your Donation

  • Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals, and raisins.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Drink an extra 16 oz. of water (hydrate yourself) or non-alcoholic fluids before the donation.
  • Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. (Fatty foods can affect the tests we do on your blood. If there is too much fat in your blood, your donation cannot be tested for infectious diseases and the blood will not be used for transfusion.)
  • If you are a platelet donor, remember that your system must be free of aspirin for two days prior to donation.

During Your Donation

  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
  • Let the person taking your blood know if you have a preferred arm and show them any good veins that have been used successfully in the past to draw blood.
  • Relax, listen to music, talk to other donors or read during the donation process.
  • Take the time to enjoy a snack and a drink in the refreshments area immediately after donating.

After Your Donation

  • Drink an extra four (8 ounce) glasses of liquids and avoid alcohol over the next 24 hours because alcohol dilates the blood vessels. This causes less blood to be available to circulate to the brain leading to dizziness and fainting. People who smoke soon after giving blood are more likely to feel the effects of nicotine and therefore faint.
  • Remove the wrap bandage (if you had one put on your arm) within the next hour.
  • Keep the strip bandage on for the next several hours.
  • To avoid a skin rash, clean the area around the strip bandage with soap and water.
  • Do not do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.
  • If the needle site starts to bleed, apply pressure to it and raise your arm straight up for about 5-10 minutes or until bleeding stops.
  • If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness after donation, stop what you are doing and sit down or lie down until you feel better. Avoid performing any activity where fainting may lead to injury for at least 24 hours.

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