Reasons People Don’t Give Blood and Blood Donation Tips
During Black History Month this past February, the Canadian Blood Services set about increasing blood donation awareness in certain ethnic groups with their campaign themed “Our Canadian Story: Making Community Engagement a Priority.” It is a great and timely idea, but the campaign didn’t address the common reasons people don’t give blood or offer blood donation tips that can overcome those reasons.
Rare types of blood are more prevalent in certain minority ethnic communities in Canada, such as people of African descent. So getting people from these ethnic groups is extremely important to saving lives and improving the health of thousands of Canadians.
“Individuals with African heritage possess certain minor blood groups that may make it difficult to find compatible blood when repeated transfusions are needed as in sickle cell disease treatment,” said Isaac Odame, medical director of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, who is all too familiar with the difficulties of matching patients within different diverse communities. “In stem cells, HLA (human leukocyte antigen) matching is compounded by the sheer lack of available ‘HLA-typed’ donors from African descent on the stem cell Network — OneMatch.”
Common Reasons People Don’t Give Blood
However, people in some minority ethnic groups, including the Black Canadian community, may not give blood for certain well-entrenched reasons. For instance, some Black Canadians and other minority ethnic communities may be reluctant to give blood due to religious or cultural beliefs — and that is there right.
If those reasons don’t apply to you and you still don’t give blood, you may be put off by some of the other common reasons people don’t give blood, including myths about the blood donation process itself. These blood donation tips may help you overcome those obstacles so you can give the gift that keeps on giving.
Blood Donation Tips for the Reluctant Donor
Start at an Early Age. If you start giving blood from an early age, you’ll likely become a frequent and repeat donor. Think of it like getting a driver’s licence — the longer you wait, the more apprehensive you become. Once you give blood, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.
Go with a Friend. Forty-three percent of people who donate blood take a friend along. If it’s your first time, this is an especially good idea: As the old adage goes “there’s strength in numbers.”
Schedule It. It’s the same advice fitness experts give to people who make the excuse that they “just don’t have the time.” Chances are if you look closely at your diary, you’ll find a spare hour or two in there somewhere to give blood. Screening, blood donation and recovery takes about an hour.
Give at Work or at the Mall. Another way to find the time to give blood is to participate in blood drives at your company or in a shopping mall. Don’t worry — the health professionals will take the same hygiene precautions.
Find out Where to Give Blood. As blood donation tips go, this one is paramount, because inconvenience can be another big hindrance, especially in a time-crunched world. Contact the Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-2-DONATE or at visit One Match to find out about blood donation locations. In Quebec, contact Héma-Québec at 1-800-847-2525 or visit Hema-Quebec.
Get As Much Info as You Can. Not knowing how to prepare for blood donation or what to expect during and after the process is one of the common reasons people do not give blood. On the other hand, learning as much as possible helps you overcome many of the reasons people don’t give blood and boosts your confidence.
For instance, you’ll learn that you won’t become infected with a disease because a new, sterile needle is used for each donation and you won’t be out of commission for days. Most people who give blood resume their normal daily activities after a short rest after donation. Visit the Canadian Blood Services or the U.S. Red Cross for more blood donation tips and information.
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