It’s more important than ever to donate blood to the Red Cross

It’s more important than ever to donate blood to the Red Cross
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:28 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The cold flu season is here and many people are taking preventative measures like getting vaccinated and boosted to protect their health. It’s also the time of the year when the Red Cross says it experiences a drop in life-saving blood donations.

As cases of COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory viruses increase, so does the concern about the nation’s blood supply.

“We see an increase in the number of people getting sick and not eligible to donate, while at the same time the demand stays constant,” Dr. Baia Lasky, the medical director of the American Red Cross, said.

Dr. Lasky said the fall and winter months are typically a challenging time for collection. Adding to the problem this year, some people believe they are ineligible because they’ve had the COVID-19 or flu vaccine shot.

“There are no deferral periods after either the flu vaccine or the COVID-19 vaccine or any boosters,” Dr. Lasky said.

Dr. Lasky said there needs to be a constant flow of donors to maintain the blood supply.

Unlike other life-saving treatments, blood donations cannot be stockpiled. Red cells have a shelf life of 42 days, while platelets last five days.

The Red Cross is hoping people will step up and schedule an appointment to make a donation. The Red Cross will tell you how long to wait after a vaccine shot to go in and donate.