January is National Blood Donor Month. Time to give a pint!
As COVID-19 marches on, many routine things have changed. One thing that has not changed is the demand for blood donations. From cancer patients in need of platelets to accident victims and other types of emergencies donations ensure their very survival. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.
Unfortunately, donations have declined with many fearful of visiting donor centers and hospitals due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who hesitate should know that every possible precaution is taken to ensure the safety not only of those who will receive the blood, but also those donating.
In a call to action by the FDA and other federal agencies, Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services emphatically notes, “It is safe to donate blood. Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it.”
“Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center is experiencing a critical need for blood, platelets, and COVID Convalescent Plasma to help patients in our community,” says Felisha Hall, Blood Donor Center Recruitment Coordinator-Lead at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center. “We are taking precautions to make sure our donors are safe to donate blood. Donations are by appointment only. We’re minimizing the time in the waiting room by having donors stay in their cars call upon arrival. And donors and staff are required to always wear masks.”
Who can give blood?
Healthy individuals age 16 and over who weigh at least 110 pounds, and have no sign of illness can donate. There are restrictions on certain medications, blood pressure, blood count, recent tattoos, and a few other stipulations.
If you are unsure if you qualify, call 800-733-2767, or visit the Red Cross website.
Donating blood takes approximately an hour. In that hour, one pint of blood is drawn that could possibly save up to three lives. The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, which may help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
In addition to the Red Cross, many local hospitals, including Anne Arundel Medical Center have donor centers with convenient hours and offer community drives.