January is blood donation month, but is it safe to do during a pandemic?
The answer is yes.
“The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of that effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. We are committed to helping others in meaningful ways during this pandemic.
Donating blood products is essential to community health and the need for blood products is constant. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations or are operating under a phased reopening plan. The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need. As hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, donors are urged to give now to ensure blood products are readily available for patients.” (redcross.org)
What safety protocols are being taken during donation?
At each Red Cross donation site employees will follow safety protocols like wearing gloves and changing them often, wiping all surfaces after every collection, temperature checks, masks for everyone on-site, providing hand sanitizer for all who enter the facility and so many more. For all of the precautions being taken please visit www.redcross.org. After your donation you will receive a phone number you can call in the event you become ill.
The American Red Cross and Blood Banks of America encourage everyone can donate to continue their donations. Those who have never donated, to make an appointment. Blood donation is safer than ever before and saves lives. Millions of people including cancer patients, organ recipients, and victims of accidents depend on donations from healthy individuals.
You will not be tested for COVID-19, but your blood will be tested for the antibodies. Your results for the antibodies will be available online within 1-2 weeks after your donation. If you know you have had COVID-19 you have the unique opportunity to help people recovering from COVID-19.
If you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, please bring your vaccination card to help identify the manufacturer name of the vaccine you received.
You can donate whole blood every 56 days, you must be in good health, most states require the donor to be 16 years of age and you must weigh 110lbs. If you have any questions or concerns about if you are qualified please talk with your doctor and visit redcross.org. Common reasons people can’t donate have to do with illness, some medications, low iron and travel outside of the United States.
During this month and going forward into 2021, consider making a donation that can help save a life.