By – Dr Sanjay Gupta, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram
Donating blood, a selfless gesture that can save lives, is nonetheless a frightening prospect. Despite decades of research and public awareness campaigns, the gift of life from a healthy person to someone who is sick or disabled remains a mystery.
There are various misunderstandings about blood donation that may cause donors to be fearful.
Here are 5 myths that can help you donate with confidence.
Myth 1: My body will be deprived of blood.
The amount of blood taken from your body is 500 mL (half a litre), which is one-tenth of what you have in your system. Blood circulates in the body of the normal adult at a rate of 4.5 to 5.5 litres per minute. The fluid you lost when donating will be replaced by your body. Furthermore, if you properly hydrate yourself following the surgery, your body will restore the lost blood in a matter of hours!
Myth 2: Donating blood weakens the immune system
As soon as you donate blood, your body begins to replenish the blood that has been lost. It may take a few weeks for the immune system’s warrior white blood cells to replenish to normal levels. However, if the body detects a threat, these can be created swiftly.
The immune system of an ordinary, healthy human being has never been shown to be harmed by blood donation.
Myth 3: A person who is taking medication is unable to donate
This is a half-truth. Donating blood is not recommended for people who are using certain medications. In most circumstances, however, drugs do not preclude someone from donating blood. Before donating, a person should consult with a physician to see if their current drugs would influence their ability to donate.
Myth 4: If I give blood, you can get an infection
If you prepare your arm in a sterile manner before we place the needle to draw your blood. Infections at the ‘draw’ site are virtually unknown. There is no risk of contracting a bloodborne illness because all of the needles are new, sterile, and only used once.
Myth 5: Women are not allowed to donate blood
Women are completely capable of donating blood. Only when they have a low haemoglobin level or are anaemic are they unable to do so. This is also true for guys. A donor must have 12.5 grammes of haemoglobin per deciliter (125 grammes per litre) to give blood. Anything less than that is deemed ineligible.