While National Blood Donor Month is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean that you should wait another year to donate blood. NOW is the time to roll up your sleeves (literally) and help save a life.
On January 11th, 2022, the American Red Cross declared its first-ever blood crisis. As stated in its release:
“The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Amid this crisis, doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.” (ref)
It is crucial that everyone who can, should donate blood. And if you wanted to in the past, but didn’t meet the criteria, now may be the time. In June 2020, eligibility requirements changed, and previously barred groups are now able to donate. This includes reducing the deferral periods for tattoos, piercings, and traveling to malaria-endemic areas. More eligibility requirements have been relaxed, so it’s best to check out the American Red Cross’s website to keep up to date.
Not eligible, but still want to help out? The American Red Cross is also looking for volunteers who can assist with Blood Drives. But they aren’t just looking for medical experts. They need volunteers who can help with greeting and registering donors as well as a need for transportation specialists.
And whether you donated or are not able to, a great way to combat the shortage is to get the word out. Convince your friends to donate. If you want to go the extra mile, organize a few friends, and give them a ride (follow best practices for Covid prevention on any group outing). This is especially helpful if it is your friends’ first time, and they aren’t sure how they will react.
If you own a business or facility, you should also think about hosting a blood drive. The Red Cross will provide planning assistance, recruitment tools, equipment and supplies, and even the trained staff. All you need to provide is the location, volunteers for scheduling and donor support, and help in getting donors in. This is perfect for a company that wants to make it easy for its employees to donate. Learn more here.
If we all work together, we can help reduce the national shortage and if we continue to work together, we can assure that there won’t be future shortages.
If you’re ready to donate or have any additional questions, you should head over to the American Red Cross website: https://www.redcross.org/.