10 interesting myths about blood donation

Blood donation is essential, it provides a life-saving gift but there is a massive gap between demand and supply. Even though giving blood can save lives, people are scared to come forward to donate and help the people in need for the sole reason that they aren’t sure if it is safe to do so. It is because of erroneous information and misconception that have been propagated. 

Let’s bust your mind with these ten myths that could ease your mind of any fear and hesitation about donating blood.


1. People who have tattoos or piercings cannot donate blood

You are free to donate blood if you were tattooed or pierced with single-use equipment in a state-licensed tattoo establishment. If not, you must wait a year before donating blood.


2. You can only give blood once each year

It is safe to donate blood more than once a year. Once blood cells have replenished, which takes up to 8 weeks, you are safe to donate again. That is why you must wait at least 56 days between donations of whole blood. Furthermore, according to government regulations, men can donate blood every three months and women every four months.


3. I'm too old to donate

You are still very much eligible to donate if you are between the ages of 18 to 70 years.


4. Donating blood is painful

Giving blood does not hurt. Just for a split second, just a little bit you'll feel the first stick of the needle but after that, you shouldn’t experience any discomfort.


5. Donating blood can make you sick

Giving blood has no negative long-term effects. If you are healthy before donating blood, you won’t become less healthy afterward. That is why it is essential to rest, drink plenty of water and eat well after donation. However, recovery is complete in a day or two.


6. Giving blood is time-consuming

Blood donation itself takes about eight to ten minutes. However, registration and processing times can differ. Filling out the form with personal information and presenting identification are required steps in registration. After that, you’ll be asked some questions about your health and a quick physical examination will be performed to see if you qualify to give blood; of course, there will be refreshment afterward.


7. If you smoke, you cannot be a blood donor

Smokers who are healthy and above the age of 18 can donate blood. Also, you must avoid smoking for two to three hours before and immediately after donating blood and stay away from alcohol for 24 hours before donating blood.


8. I am on medication so I can’t donate blood

It is not entirely accurate. If you are healthy, most medications will not disqualify you from donating blood. The reason for the prescription could disqualify you.


9. Donating blood makes the immune system weak

Donating blood increases immunity and prevents you from having heart disease and brain stroke. After donating blood, your red blood and white blood cell counts go down. However, the red blood cells return to the normal count in a few days, and the white blood cells take a little longer, but it does replenish in a few weeks.


10. Vegetarians should not donate blood

Vegetarians are eligible to donate blood as long as they meet all the health screening requirements for blood donation.


Don’t let any of these misconceptions stop you from saving lives. Blood donation is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives. 

Contact Trauma Care International Foundation to schedule a blood drive today!


his publication is part of TRAUMA CARE INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION (TCIF) advocacy briefs under the SAFE BLOOD, SAVE LIVES series. 

For more information about our Voluntary Blood Donation Initiatives (VBDI),

Call: 0808 678 3416 or 0808 584 9338 

Email: [email protected],

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