American Red Cross

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Top 10 Myths about Blood Donation

Myth: Blood donation is a painful procedure.
Truth: While donating blood isn't a pain-free experience, most donors only report brief discomfort during needle insertion. There should not be any pain while blood is drawn. Many blood donors also report that knowing their blood donation can save up to 3 lives greatly overshadows the quick pinch during the procedure.

Myth: Individuals with high/low blood pressure cannot donate blood.
Truth: Individuals with high/low blood pressure generally CAN donate blood, as long as your blood pressure is BELOW 180/100 and is AT LEAST 90/50 at the time of donation. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating.

Myth: Blood donation takes a lot of time.
Truth: The entire process of donating blood only takes about 45 mins to 1 hour on average from start to finish, However that time can be shortened even further by completing a RapidPass! (www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass)

Myth: Individuals with diabetes cannot donate blood.
Truth: Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate!

Myth: People with tattoos cannot donate blood.
Truth: A tattoo is acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused.

Myth: A person won’t be able to continue with his/her exercise regime after donating blood.
Truth: It is recommended that you wait 24 hours after donating blood to resume your exercise regular fitness routine.

Myth: People that have had the flu vaccine cannot donate blood.
Truth: As long as you are symptom free, receiving the flu vaccine will not affect your eligibility to give blood!

Myth: You can’t donate blood if you have traveled out of the country.
Truth: Not all countries are on the automatic deferral list. Many travel deferrals are date range / length of stay specific as well.

Myth: People that have been treated for cancer cannot donate blood.
Truth: Many cancer survivors are still able to donate blood after a certain period of time depending on the type of cancer and the patient’s treatment history.

Myth: People that are anemic cannot donate blood.
Truth: There are many simple lifestyle changes that you can make to raise your hemoglobin to an acceptable level for blood donation if you tend to run anemic, such as avoiding coffee/tea and adding iron rich foods to your diet.

Compelling Facts about the Need for Blood

Every 2 seconds, someone in the US needs lifesaving blood.

There are a total of 8 blood types

A+ and O+ are the most common

AB- is the most rare; only 1 in 167 people have this blood type

O- is the universal donor; only 7% of the population has this blood type

A typical whole blood donation is 1 pint comprised of Red Blood Cells, Plasma, and Platelets

Every pint of blood donated can save up to 3 lives

Nationwide, an average of 44,000 blood donations are needed each and everyday to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders

A single accident victim can require more than 60 pints of blood (now imagine how serious this situation can be if the victim has a rare blood type)

Only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, and of that 38%, only about 10% actually do. During the summer months and around the holidays, that percentage can drop to as low as 3%

Red Blood Cells have a shelf life of 42 days

Donated blood products must undergo mandatory safety testing in a lab before being transfused into a patient; therefore, it is crucial that blood products remain constantly on hospital shelves in case of emergencies

When unexpected tragedies strike, it is the blood ALREADY on the shelf that will potentially save the lives of those involved