As the holidays approach and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about a potential spike in flu cases this year, it’s important that those who are eligible, healthy and feeling well make an appointment to donate blood. The American Red Cross continues to address an ongoing emergency blood shortage, and donors are urged to give now to combat the lowest blood supply levels at this time of year in more than a decade.
According to the CDC, flu cases reached an all-time low last year due to masking, physical distancing and shutdowns across the country, and many Americans may have reduced immunity this year. When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease. Paired with winter weather, busy holiday schedules and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter.
There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free. Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
To encourage donors to help meet the needs of hospital patients this month, all who come to donate Nov. 1-23 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon.* Those who come to give around the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 24-28, will receive a pair of Red Cross socks, while supplies last.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Nov. 16-30 in Mower County include in Austin at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Tuesday, November 16th from noon to 6 p.m., also at the Hormel Historic Home on Wednesday, November 17th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at Crane Community Chapel on Tuesday, November 30th from noon to 6 p.m. An American Red Cross blood drive is also scheduled for Southland High School in Adams on Monday, November 29th from noon to 6 p.m.