With reports that more and more people are sick with the flu, the American Red Cross reminds everyone that despite seasonal illnesses, the need for blood remains constant. We offer these important tips and information about blood donation and influenza to help determine if it is the right time for you to give.
IF YOU HAVE THE FLU
Individuals who are not feeling well on the day of donation will be deferred from giving blood. Those who have the flu should wait until they no longer have flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A FLU SHOT
Individuals can donate blood after receiving the influenza vaccine if they are symptom-free and meet all other eligibility requirements. Neither the flu shot nor the intranasal vaccine is cause for a blood donation deferral, because there is no risk of transmitting influenza after receiving the vaccines.
HELPING PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE FLU
Red Cross staff members take standard precautions to prevent the spread of the flu at blood drives. These steps include frequent hand washing, cough etiquette, receiving influenza vaccination and appropriate management of ill staff members to minimize potential exposure.
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).
HOW TO DONATE
All eligible individuals—especially type O blood donors—are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross encourages individuals to complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass can now be completed on mobile devices through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
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.