Why you should donate blood during a pandemic

September 25, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

As the coronavirus pandemic rolls on through 2020, healthcare workers continue to treat the same diseases they faced before COVID-19.

Only now, with more people wary of venturing outside their homes, the blood supply crucial to so many medical treatments has taken a hit.

Donor centers saw a dramatic reduction in blood donations this year, in part because of stay-home orders, in part because community buildings closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Since March, Versiti Blood Center of Illinois has had to cancel over 4,500 blood drives due to COVID closures of businesses, schools and community locations, this totals over 100,000 planned units of blood cancelled. The need for donors stays constant and new blood drive sites and hosts are urgently needed.

October is typically a month packed with high school and college blood drives. This year, of course, is different with remote learning and no big school drives.

But the need for blood remains.

One person’s donation could save three lives in the hospital. Three teaspoons of blood could save a baby’s life.

Donating blood also has some benefits for the donor, such as a mini check-up before you give, including having your blood pressure and pulse taken. If there’s a problem with your blood, you’ll find out, which could alert you to potential health problems.

Your chance to donate and make a difference in other people’s lives is coming soon.

Edward-Elmhurst Health will sponsor a Versiti blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 25 at Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 W. Jackson Ave. in Napervillle. Sign up for a donation time slot.

Versiti will include a Sars-coV-2 antibody test as part of its standard testing on every blood donation. The presence of antibodies does not mean the donor is presently infected but indicates a prior COVID-19 infection.

People with antibodies may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, a special type of donation used to treat sick patients fighting COVID-19.

Versiti has instituted precautions to ensure the blood donation process is safe, including:

  • All donor-facing staff will have their temperature taken prior to beginning their work day.
  • Donors’ temperatures will be taken at registration to ensure they are not elevated prior to entering donation areas.
  • Donors will be asked if they've come in contact with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Donors will be asked to wash hands prior to screening.
  • Donors will be asked if they are currently experiencing coughing or shortness of breath.
  • If any of the above is true, donors will be asked to self-defer.
  • Encouraging all donors to make an appointment to lessen the amount of people waiting at our donor centers.
  • To comply with government regulations, all sponsors and donors must wear personal masks at donor centers and mobile drives.
  • Ensuring 6 feet of space between chairs in waiting areas and café.
  • Ensuring 6 feet of space between donation chairs and/or separation with medical screens.
  • If appointment registration congestion occurs, we will ask for your cell phone number and text when your appointment is ready.
  • Cleaning all equipment, beds and other surfaces after each donor finishes their donation.
  • Changing gloves frequently and between donors is part of our normal practice.
  • Maintaining sanitized pen bins, so donors are only using clean pens at sign-in.

Your donation could make the difference between life and death for someone else. Donating blood is one of the easiest, most rewarding ways to give back in a time of need.

Learn more about the Oct. 25 blood drive.

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