The importance of giving blood cannot be understated in today’s world. It’s a vital part of life and its always in demand. The fundamental reason to give blood is to save lives. It’s that simple.
So Why Give Blood?
You don’t need a special reason to give blood you just need your own. So if you want to give blood because you were asked to, or because you think a family member might need it or simply because you want to help others, be sure that you do.
1 in 4 of us will need a blood transfusion in our lifetimes, that could be your mother, father, sibling or friend that will need one in order to save their lives.
The process of giving blood is simple and takes less than an hour. Blood donation is done on a 90-day basis. This gives the human body a sufficient recovery time. Blood is used in all areas of medical care; accidents, cancer treatment, surgery, labour/ birth and many others.
Blood is a pure and natural substance and cannot be made synthetically. Blood has a limited lifespan with red blood cells lasting only 42 days. Even with the advancement in technology and medicine, there is simply no way to reproduce blood so lives solely depend on voluntary blood donors.
With the imminence of the Give Blood Drive swiftly approaching the Maynooth campus I think it’s about time we dispel some myths and presumptions about blood and blood donation.
- Giving blood hurts
There is some notion that the needle used in blood donation is something awful and should be avoided at all costs. Well it’s really not that big of a deal. There is little to no pain only that of a needle prick. Sometimes after the donation your arm will be tender and sore but nothing you can’t handle.
- Your age affects your blood donation
You have to be at least 18 years of age to donate but apart from that there are no restrictions to the age you can donate at.
- Blood Donation affects your participation in sports and other physical activities
Giving blood in no way permanently affects your athletic ability. On the day of donation, you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous physical activity. You’ll be fine to get back to track the following day.
- Taking medication prevents you from being a donor
Not all medication will immediately prevent you from being a donor. You may have to halt your donation for a period though in most cases it won’t stop you entirely. The least you can do is go in on the day and ask.
- Blood is limited in the human body and it would be unwise to give some away
Only about 350-400ml of blood is taken during the process which won’t affect your body’s operation. If you’re healthy before your donation, your recovery will only take one or two days. After the donation you’re advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Red blood cells are replaced within 3 or 4 days while white blood cells are back with 3 weeks.
- Blood Donation takes a lot of time
From the moment you sign in and register to when you are smiling as you walk out the door the process takes about an hour so it’s not inconvenient at all. The actual blood donation takes about 10 minutes.
- Blood Donation can tell if one is HIV positive.
People who have been recently infected may produce a negative test result which would allow them to donate and infect others. This is because HIV antibodies can take months to develop after the initial infection of the virus. If you have any doubts it is better to not donate at the risk of infecting others.
- Not knowing your blood group will stop you from donating.
Not knowing your blood type will not affect your donation. Every blood group is needed! Only 5% of the eligible population donates so there is always a demand. The most common blood group is O Positive (O+) at 47% of the Irish population while AB Negative (AB-) is the least common at just 1%.
All in all, giving blood is not as bad as it’s portrayed to be. During our lifetimes 1 in 4 of us will need a blood transfusion so when you’re walking out of the blood clinic on Monday or Tuesday and there’s a smile on your face it’s because the following day you’ll know that you’ve just saved a human life.