If you are African American and you are reading this, please carefully consider the following:
Extra Safety Measures Have Been Implemented
It is understandable that potential donors are hesitant to donate during a pandemic, particularly in the African American community with increased risks for those who live with serious health conditions. But the need for blood has not stopped – especially for sickle cell patients who largely depend upon blood from African American donors to live healthier pain-free lives. You can be a hero to a patient who needs you.
With that in mind, the Red Cross has implemented even more stringent measures to ensure blood donation centers are safe for our donors and staff, including:
- Wearing masks and requiring donors to wear masks.
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the collection site.
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before, as well as throughout the donation process.
- Spacing beds to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
- Enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
At each donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor.
- Routinely wiping down donor-touched surfaces.
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation.
- Preparing the arm for donation with an antiseptic scrub.
There is no data or evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus, including the coronavirus, worldwide.
Some patients with sickle cell disease require blood transfusions every 6-8 weeks for the duration of their lives. So not only will they need a substantial amount of blood throughout their lifetimes, at times the rare blood they need may not be available. One of the most positive things you could do is to roll up a sleeve, donate, and help someone else who's feeling even more helpless than you.
A Blood Donation Center May Be Closer Than You Think
Don't know if you live anywhere near a local blood donation center or a blood drive? In all likelihood, there's one a whole lot closer to you than you think. Visit our scheduler to find the ones closest to you.
We're Asking You Now
You say you've never been asked to donate blood before? Well, the American Red Cross is asking you now! In fact, we're imploring you to get out and help your own.
You can even track your blood's fantastic voyage from donation through transfusion with the Red Cross Blood Donor app.
Remember, you hold the key to saving others in urgent need of your blood donations. Please encourage family members and friends to come out and donate, too. Giving blood is a lot easier than you think, and it only takes an hour of your time. If you could only see the look of joy that comes over a patient's face after receiving your rejuvenating blood donation, you'd know exactly how that patient regards you: as a sickle cell fighter.