According to medical experts, this year its more important than ever for people to get the flu vaccine. This is to help keep the country as healthy as possible to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic from overlapping with a flu epidemic. A severe flu season could compound ongoing challenges to maintaining a sufficient supply of blood products for hospital patients in need due to COVID-19. Blood drives have been canceled in unprecedented numbers during this pandemic as organizations, businesses and schools have temporarily closed or restricted access to these community locations where drives are held for the public
TAKE CARE OF ONE ANOTHER
Get the flu vaccine this year to help protect the nation from the virus but also to ensure that patients continue to have access to lifesaving blood products. The vaccine can be administered by a flu shot or intranasal. Neither are cause for a blood donation deferral and there is no risk of transmitting the influenza virus after receiving the vaccine.
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. All blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.
Individuals can find more information about preventing the flu on redcross.org, as well as receive guidance on the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to give blood as we come together to help patients in need. To schedule an appointment to donate, individuals may use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
DONATING BLOOD IS SAFE
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.