The American Red Cross urges blood donors to give now and help fight the potential impact of seasonal illnesses and a potentially severe flu season on the blood supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts a serious spread of flu this year and is already reporting an early spike in cases in several states. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays.
Paired with busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses may make it harder to collect the blood hospital patients require this winter. Donors − especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets − can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks.
There is no waiting period to donate blood after receiving a flu shot. Schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Learn more about flu safety and prevention at redcross.org/flusafety.
As a thank-you, the Red Cross is offering several opportunities to donors this month:
• All who come to give Nov. 1 to 22 will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice. Details are available at rcblood.org/perks.
• Those who come to give over the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 23 to 27, will get a Red Cross knit beanie, while supplies last.
• All who come out to help Nov. 28-Dec. 15 will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card by email, thanks to Amazon. Details are available at rcblood.org/together.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.