By Alex Dagostino
Someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds, per the American Red Cross. While you’re reading through this, a patient within your community is in need of blood. However, the Red Cross is in the midst of the worst blood shortage in over a decade, meaning hospitals are having to postpone surgeries and rethink how they use the available blood.
“We simply like to keep three days of inventory,” says Chris Hrouda, the president of biomedical services at the American Red Cross, “we’re struggling to keep one day.”
Many Americans are hesitant to donate during the pandemic, fearing the transmission of COVID-19 by blood transfusion or the effects of a vaccine on donated blood. But studies have proved both of these concerns to be false.
The Red Cross website proves both that states that people may still donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It also states that there is no data or evidence that the coronavirus is transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including COVID-19.
People donate blood for many different reasons. Some donate because they know they are helping someone in need. Others donate for the free health check-up as part of the donation process. There are others that donate because they recognize that they might be the recipient of a blood donation one day.
Maintaining the blood supply in the U.S. is a community effort. Donating blood is a safe and free way to help those in need. You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.
Blood Donation Expectations
Per the Red Cross, there are six steps you can expect at your first blood donation.
- First is registration. Upon your arrival, you will be asked to sign-in, show your ID, and be read required information regarding your donation.
- Second, you will review your medical history online or in a private interview. You will also receive a general health check, or “mini-physical”. The results of your health check will be available for your viewing online.
- Third, you’ll be seated comfortably and your donation will begin. The actual donation takes less than ten minutes to complete!
- Following your donation, you will receive a snack and drink to enjoy for 10-15 minutes before resuming on with your day. The entire donation process takes approximately one hour from start to finish.
- Your blood donation will be sent to a patient in need!
Learn more about the donation process by clicking here.
General Guidelines for Blood Donation
The Red Cross recommends that all donors are in good general health and feeling well at the time of their donation. Donors must be at least 17 years of age in most states (16 years old with parental consent in some) and weigh at least 110 pounds. There are additional weight requirements for donors under 18 years of age. Lastly, the donor must not have donated blood within the prior 56 days.
Donating blood helps save lives. Be a hero. Give blood.
To sign-up for blood donation or for more information, please visit www.redcrossblood.org.