“You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” – Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General
Blood products are an essential part of the nation’s critical health care infrastructure, and the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t lessened the need for blood donations.
The good news is that blood donations continue, even if you live in areas with shelter-in-place orders or that are operating under phased-reopening plans. You can be confident that blood center technicians are taking extra precautions to ensure the health of blood donors and staff.
A Vital Need for Blood Products
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Every day, U.S. health care professionals use approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells. For example, a car accident victim can need up to 100 pints of blood during the recovery process. Blood products are vital to help save the lives of children and adults undergoing treatment and care for cancer, blood disorders, traumatic injuries and more.
The Benefits of Donating Blood – For Donors
While the benefits of blood donations for patients are obvious, did you know that there are also big advantages for donors too?
Save a life – or lives
One blood donation has the potential of saving up to three lives.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that you can lose up to 650 calories per pint of blood you donate.
Lower the risk of cancer
According to the Florida Health Department, donating blood lowers the amount of iron in your body, which has been associated with cancer-causing free radicals.
Maintain heart health
According to Richard Gammon, M.D., the medical director at OneBlood, a multistate, nonprofit blood-donation organization, studies show that blood donations reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Do You Have COVID-19 Antibodies?
Most blood donation sites give donors a health and wellness check that includes checking your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, iron count and cholesterol count. And during the coronavirus pandemic, many donation centers are also running tests for COVID-19 antibodies.
This test indicates if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether the donor has shown symptoms of the disease.
COVID-19 patients can greatly benefit from blood plasma from donors with COVID-19 antibodies. Antibodies are proteins developed by the immune system to fight the disease. Health care professionals can use antibodies to treat COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.
Donating blood is a simple process. Donors must be at least 17 years old*, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Common reasons people can’t donate include having a cold, the flu or another type of illness; low iron; personal history; travel outside the United States; and disqualifications due to prescribed medications. More good news: you are never too old to be a blood donor.
Finally, the donation process doesn’t take long: typically you need approximately one hour to donate blood, and you can donate whole blood as often as every 56 days.
Plan to Donate or Plan a Donation Drive
You can schedule a blood donation appointment with their local blood bank. (And don’t forget your mask!)
Better yet, consider planning an office blood drive with a local donation center. You will support a good cause and promote your community.
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