Help fight the flu this winter - and donate blood

January 16, 2013

With a severe flu season upon us, the American Red Cross reminds eligible blood donors to take measures to prevent contracting the flu.

Blood donors should:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands afterwards. If you don’t have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm, not their hands.

As the number of people with the flu grows, there may be a decrease in the number of healthy blood donors available to sustain the blood supply. Only healthy, eligible donors can give blood.

All blood types are currently needed and there is an urgent need for types O negative and B negative.

Type O negative is the universal blood type, and can potentially be transfused to patients with any blood type. Type B negative can be transfused to patients with Rh positive and negative type B blood types.

The Red Cross urges healthy donors keep their appointments to donate blood in the coming weeks, or if they fall ill to try and find someone healthy to donate in their place.

Additional helpful information:

  • Donating blood will not cause you to be more susceptible to the flu. Your resistance to the flu will not be compromised simply by giving blood.
  • There is no waiting period to donate blood after receiving a flu vaccine, as long as you are feeling healthy and well the day of donation.
  • Donors experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, lethargy, appetite loss, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea should not donate blood until 24-hours after symptoms have ceased.

If you're feeling fine and able to donate blood, please click here to schedule a blood donation appointment.

Platelet donors are also needed. Click here for site and appointment contact information.