Here’s a shocker: On average, every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood. Blood products have a limited shelf life, which means that demand is constant. And since approximately one in two Canadians are eligible to give blood, you would imagine that things would be better.
But in 2017, only one in 60 eligible people actually donated. The fact of the matter is that you could need blood or know someone who will need it at some point in their lives. That’s why you should absolutely donate if you’re 17 or over, in good health, and feeling well on the day of donation. Think about it: The whole process only takes about an hour.
To help clear up any misconceptions, we’ve rounded up the top five reasons why you think you can’t donate blood, and why they don’t actually rule you out.
One of the most common reasons why people believe that they’re not eligible to donate blood is because they’re taking medication. Truth is, there are many commonly used prescription and non-prescription medications that are deemed acceptable when donating blood or plasma. All you have to do is visit Canadian Blood Services online or call 1-888-2-DONATE to speak with a health professional to find out about the medication that you’re taking.
Many people think they can’t donate blood because they’ll collapse or feel too weak afterward. It’s advised that you’re well hydrated and have had something to eat before donating because the blood flows faster and you won’t feel as tired afterwards. You’ll be asked to wait a few moments after you give blood to have liquids or a snack to replenish your body, ensuring that you feel okay before leaving the clinic.
Did you get a new tattoo a year ago? That’s totally fine, you’re still eligible to give blood. If you’ve gotten one within the past six months, however, you will have to wait until six months has passed to be able to donate. This includes microblading and permanent makeup. Still, that’s half as long as most people think they need to wait.
If you’re thinking that you don’t have any spare blood to donate, think again. Your body is constantly manufacturing blood, and it’s equal to approximately 7% of your body’s total weight. Males have to wait 56 days before donating blood again, and females must wait 84 days, according to Canadian Blood Services. The reason for the wait? So that your hemoglobin (protein molecule in red blood cells) level is high enough to donate again.
You may think that your blood type is common, so it’s not necessary to donate. This isn’t true, as all blood types are needed to meet Canada’s future blood needs. In 2018 alone, 100,000 new blood donors will be needed to give life, replace the aging donor base, and help maintain the national blood supply.
While all blood types help patients, O-negative is always needed by hospitals because it’s the only type compatible with all other blood types. O-negative blood is used in the most critical situations; for neonates, patients with compromised immune systems, and for trauma victims. When someone’s life is on the line, there’s no time to check blood type. So every drop helps, no matter the type.
There’s no denying that the demand for blood donors in Canada is higher than ever. Every minute of every day someone needs blood. Up to eight donors per week help someone with leukemia, up to five help someone undergoing cancer treatment, up to 50 help someone in a car crash, among many other emergency medical situations.
Visit Canadian Blood Services now to find out if you’re eligible to help save someone’s life, or call 1-888-2-DONATE. Check out Canadian Blood Services on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, to see the impact being a donor has on the lives of others.