Giving blood is often seen as one of the scariest things that someone could do, but it is undoubtedly a very positive thing. In fact, blood donation is seen as one of the top fears for 18-24 year olds – as of 2018.
The charity organisation Give A Pint has a list of ten myths about giving blood and the realities behind them, in an attempt to get more young people to give blood.
These myths include some facts, stats and opinions which we’re going to recap below.
Blood is perishable.
Blood doesn’t last for as long as we might assume. In fact, it can be stored safely for 42 days. This means a continuous supply of blood is incredibly important in order to continue using it effectively.
My blood type isn’t needed
People also tend to worry that they don’t have the ‘right’ blood type for it to be worth donating – wrong! As we said earlier; blood perishes super quickly, meaning that even common blood types need to be topped up. More regularly; O, A and B are in short supply – so if you’re one of these, get yourself down!
It’ll really hurt
Ultimately this one is a fair point. It involves a needle piercing you, and that does hurt. However the pain is ultimately pretty fleeting and the actual process of blood extraction does not hurt. It is described as a ‘fleeting’ pain.
Immediately after the needle is inserted, the blood begins to flow into the container. You also get a stress ball to squeeze to divert the pain – and the workers are friendly!
Various organisations including the Red Cross, the NHS and Give A Pint are all pushing for more people to donate as much as possible to fulfil demands.
In England, men who have sex with other men are still barred from giving blood for three months after engaging in sexual activity. This does not affect other minority sexualities. Before 2017, gay men were not allowed to give blood at all – and campaigners say that the restrictions are still based in homophobia.
I’m not a minority
In England, the NHS Blood and Transplant needs 1.4 million units of blood each year across the entire country. This is more than 6,000 blood donations per day. Despite this, there’s a severe dearth of black donors.
Around 40,000 black donors are needed in England, as they are much more likely to have a blood type needed to treat a specific illness called sickle cell disease.
Whilst there are drawbacks, giving blood is one of the most positive things you can do and it makes a real difference to others lives.
Featured image credit: Pexels