Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, according to numbers from the American Red Cross.
Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, so people in need rely on the generosity of donors.
Nearly 7 million people donate blood every year. While this number may seem substantial, only about 3 percent of age-eligible people donate blood every year. Sometimes the demand for blood cannot be met.
There are a few misconceptions when it comes to blood donation. We will look at a few of the reasons people may hesitate to donate blood.
You Need to Know Your Blood Type
One of the biggest myths about blood donation is that you need to know your blood type, according to Alyssa Calvin, who works in donor recruitment for the northeastern division of the American Red Cross.
“This isn’t true,” Calvin said. “We need donors of all blood types to ensure a sufficient supply of blood for patients. Donors can learn their blood type after their donation when they receive their blood donor card or when they create a profile through our Red Cross Blood Donor App.”
Donating Blood Takes a Long Time
“The actual blood donation process only takes about eight to 10 minutes,” Calvin said.
“That’s something first-time donors may not realize. Start to finish, a donation experience takes about an hour in order to go through a health screening, the actual donation, and time to rest post-donation with refreshments.”
People Taking Medication Can’t Donate Blood
Medication does not prevent you from donating blood. Depending on the medication you are taking, you may have to halt giving a donation, according to sources.
Donation is Painful
While it’s safe to assume most don’t love the prick of a needle, donating blood isn’t painful. If you have a fear of needles, try some of the same coping techniques you’d use to get a flu shot. Relax your muscles. Take deep breaths. Hold a partner’s hand if you need it.
Donating is Unhealthy for my Body
Your body will be able to regenerate the blood given. With donating, there is no risk of disease.
If you are interested in donating blood, the American Red Cross can help find a blood drive near you.