Here, we have 6 popular myths that prevent people from performing the good deed of blood donation.
Myth 1: Our bodies have limited blood and it is unhealthy to give some away.
Wrong. Blood cells are created in the soft fatty tissue inside bone cavities, called bone marrow. The stem cells inside our bone marrow divide to create the different components of blood. These cells are continuously created since they also die within a short span of a few hours to 120 days. When you donate blood, your body, particularly the peritubular cells in the kidneys detect a shortage in the red blood cells. They signal the cells in the bone marrow by the secretion of erythropoietin, to create addition RBCs. So, blood donation is perfectly normal and does not make you unhealthy.
Myth 2: Vegetarians are not suited for blood donation as they have less iron in their bodies.
Not true. This misconception originates because of the fact that typically, meat-based foods are considered to be good sources of iron. Iron is responsible for haemoglobin production in the body, a protein essential for blood donation. However, vegetarians are perfectly capable of donating blood. A lot of foods in our Indian diet like spinach, raisins, rajma, chickpeas and apricot are rich sources of iron. It was formally stated in a research study published in the Asian Journal of Transfusion science that a vegetarian or non vegetariuan diet is not a determinant of your eligibility of blood donation.
Also Read: Everything You Wanted To Know About Blood Donation
Myth 3: Blood donation hurts.
False again. The process of blood donation is very simple and takes only less than 30 minutes. To take your blood, the nurses will simply inject a small needle in your arm and nothing else is required to be done. You will only feel a small prick during the process and the feeling gets elevated as soon as the transfer ends.
Not true at all. To be an eligible blood donor, you have to get your haemoglobin level tested. Haemoglobin is a protein of the red blood cells that gives our blood its red colour and also carries oxygen throughout the body. Inadequate levels of this protein will mean that you can’t donate blood. While men typically have higher levels of haemoglobin than women, it is not true that women can’t reach the required level. Only women who are anemic, pregnant, lactating or those who a medical problem that prevents adequate haemoglobin production aren’t eligible donors. Despite this, only 4% of all blood donors in India are women.
Myth 5: Thin people are ineligible donors and heavy people have more blood to give.
Wrong. While it is essential that you have a minimum weight of 50 kgs to donate blood, your body size is not a determinant of your eligibility. More often, it is the heavy people who might be ineligible if they are suffering from diabetes or a heart disease. Furthermore, blood creation is more only in situations where your body needs it infections or bleeding, not if you are overweight.
Myth 6 Taking medication means that one cannot be a blood donor.
False. In a majority of the cases, taking medication does not disqualify you as a blood donor. The effects of your medication to your body will be evaluated to see whether it poses any harm to the blood donation. People who have taken birth controls and general antibiotics are acceptable to donate. Those who have been vaccinated are also allowed, except when the immunization was for chicken pox, measles, polio or hepatitis B, in which case you will be required to wait for 4-20 weeks.
Now, with these common misconceptions out of your way, you can help save lives by donating blood and filling up the blood shortage in India.
Also Read: World Blood Donor Day 2017: Things You Should Know Before Donating Blood