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The American Red Cross (ARC) recently issued a public call to action due to a plummeting national inventory of blood donations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Red Cross is now facing an emergency blood and platelet shortage. Blood donor turnout has reached the lowest levels of the year as many have delayed giving amid a return to the workplace and in-person learning, as well as a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country due to the delta variant,” Jodi Sheedy, senior director of Biomedical Communications at the ARC, wrote in an email to Fox News. “This is particularly concerning as fall is usually a time when the blood supply rebounds after summer shortages. We must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month for the blood supply to recover and meet hospital and patient needs – which is why we are reaching out to the public for help today.”
In most states, individuals who are over 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health are eligible to donate.
Sometimes other factors, like international travel or certain medications, may impact a donor’s opportunity to give blood, and anyone who is inspired to donate should check their eligibility at RedCrossBlood.org.
Patients who have had COVID-19 in the past can still donate, but Sheedy reminds that the “Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. If an individual is experiencing any symptoms, the Red Cross asks that they postpone their donation until they are feeling better. The health and safety of everyone attending Red Cross blood drives across the country is a priority. In addition, other factors, such as international travel to select areas or certain medications being taken may impact donor eligibility.”
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and Power Reds, which are two units of blood, can be donated every 112 days. Platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year, the ARC said.
People generally donate one pint of blood, or around 450 to 500 millimeters of volume. The ARC said it collects about 12,500 generous blood donations every day.
After a donation, donors can safely resume normal daily activities. To minimize mild but rare reactions afterward, such as lightheadedness, donors rest for about 15 minutes in the refreshment area while they enjoy a snack and hydrate. The body regenerates the loss in blood usually within one day.
The ARC assured in its release that each blood drive and donation center follows “the highest standards of safety and infection control,” including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
Appointments can be scheduled directly on the ARC website, people can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App or they can call 1-800 RED CROSS.
One pure act of kindness might save another’s life.
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