Flu vaccine, blood donation both help save lives

Press Staff Writer

        The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets to ensure a strong blood supply for patients as the U.S. braces for flu season while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
        Medical experts are urging people to get the flu shot to avoid a flu epidemic on top of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Because blood can only be given by those who are feeling well, a severe flu season could create additional challenges to maintaining a sufficient blood supply for hospital patients in need.
        Getting a flu shot doesn’t affect blood donation eligibility. There is no waiting period to give blood or platelets after receiving a flu shot as long as the donor is symptom-free and fever-free. There is no risk of transmitting the influenza virus after receiving a flu vaccination.
        For those that have the flu, it is important to wait until they no longer exhibit flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.
        Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
        In gratitude for making time to donate, the Red Cross will send those who donate through Wednesday, Nov. 11 a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.
        COVID-19 info for donors
        The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms.
        Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.
        COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
        Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows safety and infection control protocols including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff.
        Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving for blood donation.
Donate at the Toledo Blood Donation Center, 3510 Executive Parkway, Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
        Locally, blood drives will be held:
        Nov. 7, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Lakewood Church of the Brethren, 27009 Lemoyne Rd., Millbury.
        Nov. 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 5650 Starr Ave., Oregon.
        Nov. 23, 1-6 p.m., Luckey American Legion, 335 Park Dr.
        Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Jerusalem Township Fire Hall, 9501 Jerusalem Rd.
Nov. 27, 12-5 p.m., St. John Lutheran Church, 5520 Fremont Pike. Stony Ridge.
        Nov. 27, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., ProMedica Bay Park Hospital, 2802 Bay Park Dr., Oregon.


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