These Things Shouldn’t Stop You from Donating Blood
Blood donations across the United States have been down since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be low. That’s why it’s important for anyone who can give blood to do so. Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood and one blood donation can save more than one life. But less than 10% of those eligible to donate blood do so, according to the American Red Cross.
Here are some reasons people cite for not giving blood—and why you shouldn’t let them stop you from making this important donation:
- “I think it’s going to hurt.” The only discomfort you feel when giving blood is the slight prick of the needle when it is first inserted in your arm. This only lasts for a moment and is very minor compared to how good you’ll feel knowing you did something to help others.
- “I’m not healthy (or young) enough to give blood.” Although there are some health conditions that would make you ineligible to donate blood, many common health conditions will not stop you from being a donor. Your age and the medications you take will also not likely disqualify you from donating. You will be asked questions about your health status and medications so a decision can be made about your eligibility to donate. But don’t automatically assume you can’t donate, because more often than not, you can.
- “I don’t want to get an infection.” There are strict procedures in place during blood donation to make it highly unlikely you will develop an infection of any kind. Sterile equipment is used with each new blood draw, and the procedure is very safe.
- “It takes too long to give blood.” The actual blood donation only takes about eight to 10 minutes, although you can usually expect to be at the blood donation center for about an hour. This time includes registration, a health history/mini-physical, the actual blood donation, and about 10 to 15 minutes afterwards during which you’ll enjoy some refreshments and relax before going about your day. That’s not much time to spend for doing so much good.
- “I already gave blood so I can’t do it again.” Whole blood donations can be made after waiting at least eight weeks, so blood can be donated up to six times a year.
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Date Last Reviewed: November 18, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD