Myth #1 - It takes a long time to donate blood
The whole process from start to finish only takes about an hour and involves three easy steps: registration, a health check and the blood donation itself. After registering and answering some questions about your health and travel history, an American Red Cross staff member will check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin. Then it’s on to the donation itself – which only takes about eight to 10 minutes, after which you will relax for a few minutes with a drink and snack before leaving.
Myth #2 - It will hurt to donate blood
Only for a moment, and only a tiny bit (at least, that’s what our donors tell us). You’ll feel the first stick of the needle, but you shouldn’t feel any pain after that. Some of our loyal repeat donors even tell us they’ve gotten so used to the feeling that they barely notice the needle anymore.
Myth #3 - I have a tattoo, so I can’t give blood
In the majority of states, you may give blood immediately after getting a tattoo if you got it in a shop that is state regulated. Otherwise, you must wait three months to donate. However, if you get your tattoo in Idaho, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia, you must wait three months no matter what.
Myth #4 - I don't have a rare blood type, so my blood donation isn't really needed
O negative blood is the universal blood type. It is the most common blood type used for transfusions in emergencies when the blood type is unknown (for example, in a trauma situation). Because it’s used so often, it’s almost always the first type to run out during a shortage. But if necessary, many hospitals will also transfuse O positive blood in emergencies when there is massive blood loss. That’s because the risk of reaction is much lower in a situation where blood loss is ongoing.
Only 7% of the population has O negative blood, but 38% of the population has O positive blood. No matter what your blood type is, it is needed and valuable. Every two seconds someone in the United states needs blood. Every single blood type is vital to saving lives.
Myth #5 - I'm too old to donate
There is no maximum age limit for donating blood. You can donate starting at age 17 (16 in some states with parental consent) and can then donate for the rest of your life as long as you are eligible otherwise.
Myth #6 - I’m on medication, so I can’t give blood
Myth #6 - I’m on medication, so I can’t give blood. In almost all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. The reason that you were prescribed the medication could disqualify you, but if the condition is under control and you are healthy, donations are usually allowed. There are a handful of drugs that may involve a waiting period to donate after the last dose is taken, however. Check out the link here Questions About Donating Blood under Medications for more information.
Myth #7 - I have high blood pressure, so it’s too dangerous for me to donate blood
You can donate blood as long as your blood pressure is 180 or below systolic (top number) and 100 or below diastolic (bottom number) at the time of donation. When you come in to donate, a Red Cross staff member will check your blood pressure as part of the mini health assessment conducted prior to donating. Taking medication for high blood pressure doesn’t disqualify you either.
Don’t let any of these blood donation myths stop you from coming in to donate! For more information about some of the myths about blood donations visit our video page. You can also always talk to our staff about any specific concerns you may have. We’d love to welcome you to a blood drive or donation center soon.