Red Cross calls for blood donations as flu season looms


(WTNH) — There is no getting around it. 2020 has been cruel. So, a flu epidemic on top of a COVID-19 pandemic would be unthinkable, even for 2020.

The Red Cross has a call to arms. With blood donations down and flu season knocking on the door, they’re saying the time is right to give.

“Regardless of COVID, this is a time when we do ask that healthy individuals who are feeling well to come on out and make a donation to ensure that we have that blood supply needed throughout the winter months to help patients in need,” Alyson Barraza, the Communications Director of the American Red Cross. “Really, now is the time. we want to make sure we keep and maintain that supply high over the next few weeks because blood has a 42-day shelf life. So it must constantly be replenished.”

Blood donation, along with flu vaccine save lives. And blood can only be given by healthy donors. Medical experts are encouraging people to get the flu shot to avoid a flu epidemic on top of the global pandemic.

‘Blood donation is an essential service, so in this time of the pandemic, and as the pandemic wears on, we need the support of healthy blood donors… patients of many different kinds. Cancer patients receive the treatments they need. Trauma victims in the emergency room, have access to the blood products they need,” Barraza said.

If you want to get a flu shot first, there’s no wait time to give blood or platelets as long as the donor is symptom-free and fever-free. If you can’t donate blood, you can still help.

The Red Cross by donating space to host a blood drive. “80 percent of our blood drives are within communities. They are at businesses, churches, schools, malls. And so to see those have to be shutdown really does make an impact on where and how we’re able to collect the blood that we need.”

Barraza said you can make an appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor app.

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