5 Myths About Blood Donation, Busted
In Partnership with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.
June 14, 2024

We ask Aussies what they know about giving blood – and bust some of the biggest myths.

Donating blood – it’s one of those actions everyone knows is a great thing to do, but many aren’t quite sure how, where, or why to do it.

Did you know that 57% of Australians are eligible to give blood? Unfortunately, despite the urgent need in hospitals around the country, only 3% of those eligible actually donate. 

Rolling Stone AU recently hit the streets of Melbourne with Ash from Lifeblood to discover just how much regular Aussies know about donating blood. It turns out there are still some myths and misconceptions holding many potential donors back from giving blood and saving lives – especially when it comes to eligibility and the process itself.

So, let’s debunk some of those common myths. 


Myth 1: You can’t donate if you have a tattoo

One of the most common misconceptions is that having a tattoo bars you from donating blood. This is no longer the case. 

Recent changes in regulations mean that if your tattoo was done in a licensed facility, you can donate plasma straight away and only need to wait a week before you can donate blood. The same goes for piercings, which you only need to wait a day before donating. 

Myth 2: Only certain blood types are needed

Some people think only rare blood types are needed for donation. Think again. In reality, all blood types are crucial and in demand. 

O positive, for example, is the most common blood type in Australia and also the most needed. Whether you have a common or rare blood type, your donation is valuable and has the potential to save lives.

Myth 3: You can’t donate if you’ve travelled overseas

Well, it depends. The rules around eligibility after travelling have relaxed a lot over the years. For example, if you’ve lived or travelled to the UK, you are now eligible to donate blood. Likewise, if you think an overseas trip means you can’t donate blood, make sure to double check because there are plenty of destinations that don’t affect your eligibility. 

If you’re unsure, the Lifeblood website has detailed information on who can give blood, considering various health conditions, travel history, and medications. Most people find that they are eligible when they check the guidelines. 

Myth 4: Blood donations aren’t that needed

This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Ash from Lifeblood, a blood donation is required every 18 seconds in Australia. That’s about 200 per hour. In fact, 33% of us will likely need blood or blood products in our lifetime, making the need a lot closer to home than you think.

With each donation capable of saving up to three lives, the demand for blood is both critical and constant. Most of the blood donations received are used to support patients with medical conditions such as cancer and blood diseases, not just for emergencies

Myth 5: The process of donating blood is too hard

Many people believe that donating blood is annoying and time-consuming. Fact check: becoming a donor is a simple 3-step process. Register, book a donation, and donate. 

Registration takes just a minute online or via the app, you can book a spot close to home or work at a time that suits you, and the donation itself is a quick and painless process. Plus, when you think of the lives you could be saving, it’s totally worth it. 

So, there you have it. If you’ve ever hesitated to donate blood, consider these myth busters and take that first step. Visit Lifeblood’s website, learn more about how you can donate, and book your donation today. You never know whose life you could change. 

Become a donor today. Find out if you’re eligible at lifeblood.com.au/faq/eligibility 

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