Red Cross needs blood

As blood drives are canceled across the United States at an alarming rate due to coronavirus concerns, the American Red Cross is strongly urging healthy individuals to give blood or platelets to help patients in need.

More than 1,500 Red Cross blood drives have already been canceled across the country, resulting in some 46,000 fewer blood donations, and these numbers are expected to rise significantly in the coming days, according to a release from the Red Cross.

A blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer. One of the most important things people can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of the coronavirus is to give blood.

The Red Cross is taking additional precautions at all blood drives and donor centers to ensure the safety of donors and staff, the release says. These precautions include: checking the temperature of all individuals before they enter any drive; providing hand sanitizer for use upon entrance and throughout the donation process; and spacing beds to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.

How to donate blood

If you are healthy, feeling well, and eligible to give blood or platelets, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.

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.

The Red Cross collects blood only from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. Donating blood does not impact or weaken the immune system.

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