The American Red Cross will hold the following upcoming blood drives in Barrow County:
•11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Winder Housing Authority headquarters, 163 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
•2-6 p.m. Jan. 25 at Saint Matthew Catholic Church, 25 Wilkins Rd. SW, Winder.
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood today with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
The Red Cross and the National Football League are teaming up in January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals – especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 – to give blood and to “help tackle the national convalescent plasma shortage,” according to a news release. Right now, more donors are needed to help hospital patients, leaders said.
Those who come to donate blood or platelets this month will be automatically entered to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, according to the release. In addition, those who come to give Jan. 1-20, will also be automatically entered to win the Big Game at Home package, which includes a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card. Additional details are available at https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/events/super_bowl.html.
“Blood and plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19 may have the power to help critically ill patients currently battling the virus,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, Red Cross medical director of clinical services. “With hospital distributions for convalescent plasma increasing about 250 percent since October, these generous donations are vital in helping to save lives throughout the winter – a time that is often challenging to collect enough blood products for those in need.”
As COVID-19 cases have risen across the U.S., so has the need for convalescent plasma — leading to a shortage of this potentially lifesaving blood product. Like “special teams” units on the field, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to make a game-changing difference in the lives of COVID-19 patients. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies in their plasma that could provide a patient’s immune system the boost it needs to beat the virus.
How those recovered from COVID-19 can help
There are two ways COVID-19 survivors can help — through a convalescent plasma donation or by simply giving whole blood, leaders said. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients. Health emergencies don’t pause for holidays, game days or a pandemic — blood is needed every two seconds in the U.S. to help patients battling injury and illness, according to the release.
Blood donation safety precautions
To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation, leaders said.
“Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance,” leaders said.
Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
About blood donation
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.