A blood transfusion happens every two seconds to address anything from surgeries and severe illnesses to cancer treatments and traumatic injuries, according to the American Red Cross.
The need for blood is increasing in Trinidad and Tobago and many persons can make an important contribution by donating blood and by recruiting others to become donors. A 2019 survey shared that only 12% of millennials were blood donors or keen on donating blood. Many sighted fear of needles and the process as their main reason for not considering this “Gift of Life”
In our conversations with the public, they shared several misconceptions associated with donating blood that we must de-bunk.
Myth No. 1: It will hurt?
Beyond the pinch of the needle and the pressure on your arm from the tourniquet, donating blood does not hurt. You may experience some dizziness or lightheadedness during or after your donation but that subsides in a short space of time.
Myth No. 2: Blood can be stored forever
Blood and its different components have different shelf lives. If not used right away, whole blood can be refrigerated for up to 35 days. So, regular blood donation is important.
Myth No. 3: I can’t donate if I have tattoos or piercings.
Yes, you can, just there is a wait.
Previously one needed to wait one year after the event of obtaining a tattoo or piercing, now by the new Eligibility Criteria of the Ministry of Health, that has been shifted to 3 months.
Myth No. 4: I can’t donate if I’m on medication.
This is only partially true. It is not the medication itself, but the reason why you are prescribed the medication that could disqualify you from donating blood. Individuals taking certain medications, including anticoagulants, antiplatelet medications, and some acne treatments, should not donate blood.
Before donating, a person should speak with a medical professional to check whether their current medications affect their eligibility to be a donor. Just as importantly, if a doctor has prescribed a medication, people should not stop taking it to donate blood.
Myth No. 5: I can only donate once a year.
Your blood replenishes itself, but not all at once. Your body replaces the plasma you lost within 24 hours. Red blood cells take about four to six weeks to be completely replenished. That’s why your wait is at least 56 days between donations of whole blood.
• ↓Females can donate up to 3 times over a 12-month period.
• ↓Males can donate up to 4 times over a 12-month period.
One thing to remember however:
Fact: Every donation can make a lifesaving difference.
And you can be that stranger that saves the life of 3 persons by donating 1 unit today!