With the COVID-19 on the forefront of everyone’s minds and the need for social distancing, there is currently a shortage of blood supply available for patients in America and around the world because of the reluctance or inability to donate due to the pandemic. Stores may be closing and our lives have changed significantly, but the need for blood donations is still ever present.
Why Are Donations Necessary?
Your donations save lives. When a person has been injured such as instances of bodily trauma causing blood loss or illnesses such as sickle cell anemia and need constant blood transfusions, it’s your donation that provides these individuals a chance to survive. Doctors and healthcare professionals only have a volatile stockpile of blood as blood itself has a shelf life of 35 to 42 days, leaving them to rely on constant donations to ensure that their patients receive the help that they need.
“Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.” -Red Cross
Blood donations are also used for research, such as in the case of COVID-19 vaccine development in which individuals who survive COVID-19 and provide blood donations also provide researchers antibodies for the disease, integral in research and testing for the vaccine. Antibody rich blood is also used in the transfusions of COVID-19 patients, aiding them in their recovery and helping them beat the virus.
Is Donating Safe in a Pandemic?
If you are vulnerable or in constant contact with someone who is susceptible to the coronavirus, it’s advisable to refrain from donating blood. There is always a risk of potentially contracting the virus by being in close contact with other individuals. However, the process itself is safe as everything involved in the process is sterilized. All donation centers value donor safety and implement social distancing procedures as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of contraction.
Where Can I Donate?
If you’re interested in donating, the centers available to you are highly dependent on your location. There are various organizations that offer the opportunity to donate blood, one of biggest being https://www.redcrossblood.org if you would like to check out their website.
With the pandemic putting strains on our lives and livelihoods, it’s important now more than ever to donate blood. Not only does it save lives, but it helps put an end to this devastating virus.
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern