Myths and truths about donating blood

In Latin America, 44.17% of the people donate blood

Myths and truths about donating blood 

Leer en Español:Mitos y verdades sobre la donación de sangre

Blood donation can save lives. There are many reasons on why a person needs blood transfusions: women with pregnancy related complications, kids with anemia, people with severe traumas, and cancer patients, among others. However, there are a lot of lies around the consequences of blood donation.


  1. Blood donation makes you gain weight: Myth. Blood donation doesn't make you gain (or lose) weight. A Red Cross campaign assures that the only way to gain weight is by eating more calories than what you burn throughout the day.


  1. Blood donation reduces sexual desire: Myth. Blood donation doesn't interfere with sexual desire of either men or women. The Red Cross insists that there is some evidence that suggest that when people donate or made some other altruist action, there is an increase of the oxytocin hormone (the love hormone).


  1. If a person ever gets a tattoo, he can't donate: is not completely accurate. If the tattoo has been around for more than a year, the person is able to donate. This same rule applies to any body piercing, as well.


  1. People HIV positive can't donate: True. People with any STD are not allowed to donate because there is a high probability of transmission. People who practice unsafe sex, who inject drugs, and people with severe allergies can't donate either.


  1. Donating blood is painful: Myth. Normally the process of blood donation is pain-free and quick. A tiny needle makes the blood extraction.


  1. It is only necessary when there is a tragedy: Myth. Many people think that they need to keep their blood for the moment a family member or a friend needs a transfusion. However, the time between the donation and the use of that blood can take a few days.


  1. There is a chance of HIV infection: Myth. There is no chance of getting infected by any kind of disease. The elements used are sterile and are of single-use.


  1. Pregnant women can't donate: True. Women who are pregnant, were pregnant in the last 6 months, or are breastfeeding are not allowed to donate.


  1. People can only donate once a year: Myth. Men are able to donate 4 times a year and women, 3 times.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández 

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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