Fact vs. Fiction: Blood Donation

In honor of National Blood Donor Month, we examine why you shouldn’t be afraid to donate blood.

Fiction: I can’t donate because I’ve traveled internationally.

Fact: Currently, 12-month restrictions apply only to those who have traveled to Iraq or to a country where malaria is found. People who have lived in a country with malaria should wait three years. Those who have lived in countries where mad cow disease is found are ineligible.

Fiction: I’ll lose too much blood.

Fact: Within 24 hours, plasma self-replenishes. Red cells will be replaced within four to 
six weeks.

Fiction: It’s unsafe to give blood.

Fact: You can’t contract HIV or viral diseases during blood donations. A new, sterile needle is used once and discarded for each donation. Some people may feel lightheaded, sick or develop a bruise where the needle was inserted, but most feel fine, according to American Red Cross.

Fiction: I am worried my blood won’t be safe to share.

Fact: Blood donations are tested for bacterial contamination and diseases before the blood 
is shared.

By the Numbers: U.S. Blood Donation Needs

Every two seconds: how often someone new needs blood

100: how many pints of blood may be needed for one car-accident victim

10: the percentage of the population that 
donates blood every year (compared to the 38 percent eligible to donate blood)

3: how many lives one blood donation can help save

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