Most viable people donate blood. But in the same way, most are hindered from doing so due to many facts and myths that surround the subject. Blood is a risky topic and donating blood is risky business. While blood donation does indeed make the donor weak and dizzy, it passes soon. Here are a few facts and myths that surround the subject for your peace of mind

Myth: Being a vegetarian, means that the blood does not have enough iron and cannot be donated.
Fact: Vegetarians can donate blood. The iron needed is taken from body stores and once a balanced diet is maintained, is replaced after donation. This normally takes a month or so.

Myth: Giving blood hurts.
Fact: The pain experienced is no more than a needle prick. The slight soreness where the needle incision was is just a reminder of the good deed done.

Myth: HIV or other infections can be contracted from donating blood.
Fact: A clear procedure exists for taking blood from each donor. Sterility is maintained at all steps. A sterile, new needle is used for each donation and is then discarded. Use of sterile equipment and technique limits the chance of infection.

Myth: Giving blood is time consuming.
Fact: The time taken for a single donation session is normally not more than an hour or so.

Myth: There is limited blood in the body, and it is unhealthy to give some away.
Fact: Only about 350 to 450 ml. of blood is taken during donation. There is enough blood in the body to donate it without any ill effects. The body makes new blood after donation.

Myth: Age is a deterrent to blood donation.
Fact: Anyone up to the age of 60 who is fit and healthy can give blood.

Myth: Heavy people are healthier and have more blood.
Fact: Being overweight makes people less healthy. Overweight people do not have more blood.

Myth: Health deteriorates after donating blood.
Fact: If you are healthy, prior to donation, your recovery is complete in a day or two. It is advised to rest a while after donating. Drinking enough liquids replaces the lost fluid within a couple of hours. The body produces new cells faster after a donation. All the RBCs (Red Blood Cells) are replaced within three to four days and WBCs (White Blood Cells) within three weeks.

Myth: you cannot take part in sports or other physical activities after donating blood.
Fact: Giving blood does not interfere with ability to perform physically. Advice to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous workouts for the rest of the day is given after the donation. You can get back on track the next day.

Myth: Taking medication means that one cannot be a blood donor.
Fact: Depending on the medication being taken, it may halt donation for a period, though in many cases, it won’t prevent a donation. However the person in charge or the nursing staff should be informed before donating.

Myth: When there is a requirement, blood can be manufactured.
Fact: Blood is not something that can be manufactured. It can only come from healthy human beings.

Myth: Being of mixed race precludes blood from being helpful.
Fact: Race and caste have no bearing on eligibility of being a blood donor. It is the blood type and group that is of importance.

Myth: Blood donation can tell if one is HIV positive.
Fact: HIV antibodies can take months to develop after infection with the virus. Those recently infected may have a negative test result and yet be able to infect others. It is better not to donate blood if at risk of getting HIV or other infections.