The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to give blood to ensure a strong supply for patients as the U.S. braces for flu season while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the organization.
Medical experts are urging people to get the flu shot to avoid a flu epidemic on top of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the organization said. Because blood can only be given by those who are feeling well, a severe flu season could create additional challenges to maintaining a sufficient blood supply for hospital patients in need. There is no waiting period to give blood or platelets after receiving a flu shot as long as the donor is symptom-free and fever-free. There is no risk of transmitting the influenza virus after receiving a flu vaccination.
For those that have the flu, it is important to wait until they no longer exhibit flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.
Donors can make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions, according to the Red Cross.
Donation drives will be held the following days:
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, Two Twelve Medical Center, 111 Hundertmark Road
12:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, Emanuel Lutheran School, 18175 County Road 50
1-6 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 17, Academy Travel, 235 Highway 5 W
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, Belle Plaine Fire Department, 700 Main St. E
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, Ridges at Sand Creek, 21775 Ridges Drive.
12-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, New Prague Fire Department, 505 5th Ave. NW
1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 5634 Luther Drive SE.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center, 13550 Dakota Ave.
1-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, Shakopee Community Center, 1255 Fuller St.
Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.