There's a 1st time for everything.
Here’s an easy riddle for you: What is a gift that requires no shopping, will always be amongst the greatest you’ll ever give and won’t cost you a single dime?
It’s blood donation, and the only real question is why more people don’t do it.
There are all kinds of myths that still surround the act and almost none of them are true. Yet health experts and places like Canadian Blood Services continually battle the falsehoods that can literally put someone’s life at risk.
Here’s a look at the false perceptions and the real truth about the need to bleed.
Myth: You can get HIV/AIDS from giving blood
Fact: Not really. There are specific rules that surround the use of sterile needles and cleanliness that are strictly adhered to. So provided you’re at a legitimate clinic run by an organization like Canadian Blood Services, the chances of you getting anything from rolling up your sleeves is virtually nil.
Safeguards have been put in place since the tainted blood scandal rocked the country in the 1980s. But that happened to patients who received blood – not those who gave it. And rigorous screening and testing is now in place to ensure anyone infected with a disease like hepatitis or HIV can’t donate.
Myth: I don’t know my blood type so I can’t donate.
Fact: The clinic staff will be able to determine that within about 45 secs and it will be on your Blood Donor card that you receive afterward in the mail.
Myth: It’s against my religion.
Fact: Most major religions have no objection to giving blood and many see it at as an act of charity.
Myth: It takes too long.
Fact: You’ll be in and out in under an hour and the actual donation takes about 10 to 15 minutes. And they may give you some free juice or tea and cookies as a reward.
Myth: They’ll take too much.
Fact: There’s a specific amount they need, about 450 millilitres. And your body replaces it in just a few hours.
Myth: I’m too young or too old.
Fact: Those 17 and up are eligible to donate in Canada. After age 71, you’ll need a medical assessment signed by your doctor. You also need to weigh at least 50 kilograms or 110 lbs.
Myth: My contribution doesn’t mean anything because there are always others who donate.
Fact: Donations are always needed, especially around holidays, when people get busy and forget. There’s never enough and many times, blood supplies run dangerously low.
Myth: They keep it refrigerated so there’s plenty in reserve.
Fact: Donated blood is only good for about 42 days. Platelets last only 5 days.
Myth: I have a tattoo so I can’t give.
Fact: Donors with body art are asked to wait six months after getting the work done to ensure there’s no infection. After that, they’re as welcome as anyone. The same goes for pregnant women, who must wait half a year after giving birth to donate again. Being on certain kinds of medication can also disqualify you. The clinic will tell you if you’re affected.
Myth: You can give blood once a month to help out
Fact: Donations are limited to once every 56 days.
It’s in you to give.
List of clinics in Toronto
Out of the city? Find your nearest clinic here.