With the beginning of a new year comes a fresh start. New Year's resolutions are often made to form good habits and reach new goals. This New Year's, the American Red Cross encourages people to resolve to help patients in need through regular blood donations.
As the winter season continues, blood donations are especially needed. Donations typically decline this time of year, as many regular donors are
impacted by inclement weather and seasonal illnesses.
There is no better resolution to make this New Year's than to help save
lives with the Red Cross. Give the gift of life and help give patients
another year with their loved ones. Make an appointment to donate
blood at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED CROSS.
Because of recent flu outbreaks, the demand for blood donations is even greater than usual. Locally, we are facing a shortage of O negative (the universal donor) and B negative blood, so it is more important than ever to donate blood if you are able. According to Krystle Jacobs, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross, across the country there is a shortage of blood because donors are getting sick and canceling appointments or not showing up to blood drives.
"It is so important that anyone who is well and able to donate comes out to the blood drive," Jacobs said. "We are in need of all blood types. Not just O negative and B negative, all blood types are still needed and will get used."
Here are some frequently asked questions about the flu and donating blood:
Q. How long do I have to wait to donate blood if I have had the flu?
A. Blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation. You should wait until you no longer have flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before you attempt to donate.
Q. Can I get the flu from a blood transfusion?
A. No. Influenza virus has NOT been shown to be transmitted through blood transfusion. According to research, seasonal influenza does not appear to pose a significant contamination threat to the blood supply.
Q. Can I donate, or how long do I have to wait to donate, if I I've had a flu vaccination?
A. You can donate after receiving the influenza vaccine if you are symptom-free and meet all other eligibility requirements. Neither the flu shot nor the intranasal form of the influenza vaccine is cause for a blood donation deferral because there is no risk of transmitting influenza after receiving the vaccines.
Q. How is the flu impacting the blood supply?
A. The flu season may cause a decline in local blood donations as donors experience flu-like symptoms. Anyone who is not feeling well on the day of donation will be deferred from giving blood. Because donors are unable to keep their appointments, the Red Cross is seeing a lower-than-expected turnout at some scheduled blood drives.
Page 2 of 2 - Q. Are Red Cross staff members taking precautions to help prevent the spread of the flu?
A. Red Cross staff members take standard precautions to prevent the spread of the flu, including: frequent hand washing, cough etiquette, influenza vaccination and appropriate management of ill staff members to minimize potential exposure.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Jan. 21 from noon to 6 p.m. at Knights of Columbus, 800 W. Frontview
St. in Dodge City, Kan.
Jan. 22 from 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Knights of Columbus, 800 W.
Frontview St. in Dodge City, Kan.
Jacobs also noted that all blood collected at these drives will be sent to Western Plains Medical Complex. If more blood is collected than the hospital needs, it may be sent to surrounding communities, but Dodge City will keep as much as they need.
"We hope that people take a few minutes out of their day to donate," Jacobs said. "Whether they're a first time donor or a regular, we appreciate their donation."
Jacobs added that in addition to the traditional punch and cookies that are served to donors, taco salad will be available as well.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit
redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All
blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.