You can give blood even after getting a flu shot

Vaccination Does Not Prevent Blood Donation

October 16, 2019- Flu season is underway, and it is expected that more than half of the U.S. population will get a flu vaccine this year according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). However, the American Red Cross does not defer individuals from donating blood after receiving the influenza vaccine if they are symptom-free and meet all other donation eligibility requirements.

Did you read that?  You can still give blood, even after getting a flu shot!

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Important Flu and Blood Facts

The flu vaccine can be administered by a flu shot or intranasal. Neither are cause for a blood donation deferral and there is no risk of transmitting the influenza virus after receiving the vaccine. Additionally, influenza virus has not been shown to be transmitted through blood transfusion.

If you have the flu, it is important to wait until you no longer have symptoms and have recovered completely before attempting to donate. All blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.

Preventing the Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), millions of people in this country get sick with flu every year, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and, unfortunately, tens of thousands die. The best way to help avoid getting influenza is to get vaccinated every year.

While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and most times peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. It takes about two weeks after receiving your vaccine for the antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body so it’s important to get your vaccine now.

The CDC recommends that everyone be vaccinated by the end of October. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who need 2 doses should receive their first dose as soon as possible after vaccine becomes available to allow the second dose (which must be administered at least 4 weeks later) to be received by the end of October.

AT HIGH RISK FOR FLU:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 2 years old – although all children younger than 5 years old are considered at high risk for serious flu complications, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years old, with the highest hospitalization and death rates among infants younger than 6 months old.
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

The CDC also reports people with the following health and age factors are also at an increased risk of getting serious complications from the flu:

  • Asthma
  • Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
  • Blood disorders
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
  • People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medications

Flu vaccine is available now in many locations such as your doctor’s office, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments. Your vaccine will help protect you throughout the 2019-2020 flu season.

flusafety

DO I HAVE THE FLU? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children). If you think you have the flu, call your health care provider. Seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
  • Fever with a rash (children).
  • No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).

 YOU CAN HELP STOP THE FLU FROM SPREADING

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.

More information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected from the flu is available on this website and in the free Red Cross First Aid App. See all the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.

How Healthy Individuals Can Donate Blood

Learn more about how to stay healthy this flu season so you can help patients in need. You can find more information about preventing the flu at redcross.org, as well as receive guidance on the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

You must be 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health to be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

You can save time at your next donation by using RapidPass® to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of your donation, before arriving at the blood drive or donation center. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Local volunteers preparing to help residents affected by Dorian

Hurricane Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm leaving behind catastrophic damage—from destroyed homes to contaminated water sources. While a complete picture of the damage isn’t available yet, it’s clear the storm is dealing a devastating blow to families on the islands.

Bahamas Red Cross volunteers and pre-positioned relief supplies—such as tarps, hygiene items, jerrycans, and hand-crank cell phone chargers—are at the ready.

Hurricane Dorian 2019

September 1, 2019. Orlando, Florida. Seven-year-old Deshawa hold his sister, 1-year-old Keelen, while talking with a Red Cross worker at the Evans High School evacuation center. The children’s family came to the evacuation center to escape the expected high winds and torrential rainfall associated with Hurricane Dorian. Photo credit: Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

In the U.S., the American Red Cross is preparing to help tens of thousands of people in the path of Hurricane Dorian as the extremely dangerous storm tracks towards the southeast coast. While the exact path of Dorian is still uncertain, millions of people live in areas that could be impacted by wind, rain, flooding and a high storm surge, even if the storm doesn’t make direct landfall on the coast.

The Red Cross is coordinating with community partners and emergency responders to prepare evacuation centers as planning estimates indicate as many as 60,000 people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina may need help. Sunday night, some 2,600 people sought refuge in 60 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida. We are mobilizing over 1,600 trained volunteers from all over the country, including 14 from Northeast Ohio.

Media coverage of Red Cross volunteers preparing to deploy on Sunday was extensive

Two emergency response vehicles from the region are among the 110 vehicles being deployed, and 99 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies, including cots, blankets and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals are on the way.

While the Red Cross does not typically collect and distribute blood in Florida, we have sent approximately 350 blood products to local blood centers there to ensure patients in need continue to have access to lifesaving blood. The Red Cross has also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many of our hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm early next week.

Get ready for emergencies during National Preparedness Month

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

August 30, 2019- Are you ready for an extended power outage? Could you, for example, provide your family with food and water for two weeks if the unthinkable happened?

As Hurricane Dorian approaches the southeast coast of the U.S., with potentially 50,000 people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in need of emergency shelter, the importance of getting prepared for any possible emergency is clear.

preparedness month 1

Most Clevelanders don’t expect a hurricane. But do you remember the power grid problems that once plagued us, right here in Northern Ohio?

Think back to August 2003

Eight U.S. states and Ontario, Canada, were left without power for up to two weeks when a power grid failure started outside Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 14, 2003. One of the first, dire side effects in Cleveland was that people in higher elevations would only have a three-hour supply of water.

Electric pumps could not deliver replacement water to the municipal water towers. Gas pumps did not work. Elevators did not work. Traffic lights did not work. Cash registers did not work. ATMs did not work. Business came to a halt.

Stores in my neighborhood were sold out of water and batteries in less than three hours; and they only accepted buyers with cash.

It was 14 days before all 55 million affected residents had their power restored. How would you fare if that happened today?

In honor of National Preparedness Month this September, we propose five simple tips to get ready:

  1. We are so dependent on our cellphones that you really need to consider having a backup battery source. Keeping a charged, high-capacity battery pack, like one of these, can recharge your phone multiple times.
  2. Personal emergency lights like the Red Cross Blackout Buddy are always charged and can provide a nightlight option.
  3. Do you know how to open your garage door if the power goes out? Most garage doors are controlled by an automatic garage door opener, which won’t work without electricity. However, just about all have a pull chain or cord that will release the door so you can operate it manually. Learn how it works before the power goes out.
  4. If a power surge hits your home, it could fry your computer’s hard drive and you could lose all your documents and photos. Do you keep copies of important items “in the cloud” on one of the free online storage applications like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Backup and Sync? Even if your computer is destroyed or lost, those files will always be available at a later date if stored in the cloud.
  5. Portable camp stoves come in a variety of sizes and prices. Having one on hand is great if you need to boil water for baby bottles or to make coffee or oatmeal. Many have multiple burners that can cook entire dinners. Use only outside with good ventilation.

If you’ve read this far – congratulations. To be even better prepared, watch the video, download the   and read more here. The question isn’t, “Could it happen again?” The question is, “When will it happen again?” However, the most important question is, “Will you be ready?”

Edited Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Help keep students cool as fall practice starts

By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer

August 23, 2019- As kids head back to school in Northeast Ohio and practice begins for fall sports and activities, summer heat and humidity can be especially hazardous to students as they play in the late summer heat.

American football

Coaches can help keep their students safe with a few tips from the American Red Cross:

  1. Avoid scheduling practice outside during the hottest times of the day. Instead, schedule them for early in the day or later in the evening.
  2. Help players acclimate to the heat by reducing the intensity of workouts until they are more accustomed to the heat.
  3. Plan frequent, longer breaks when practicing in the heat. Stop about every 20 minutes for water breaks to keep everyone hydrated and take breaks in the shade, if possible.
  4. Coaches should reduce the amount of heavy equipment athletes wear in the extremely hot weather. Dress athletes in net-type jerseys or lightweight, light-colored cotton T-shirts and shorts.
  5. Know the signs of heat-related emergencies and monitor athletes closely. Athletes should inform a coach if they are not feeling well. Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water or an electrolyte-containing fluid (sports drink, fruit juice or milk) every 15 minutes.

Heat Exhaustion

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink and make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

StayWell PHSS stock photography

Heat Stroke LIFE-THREATENING

Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin, which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, short breathing; confusion; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water, if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

RESOURCES FOR COACHES

  • Take a Red Cross Training class to become certified! The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross offers classes in CPR, Basic Life Support (BLS), AED defibrillation and First Aid to be prepared in case an athlete is in need of care. Find a local class near you.
  • First Aid, Health and Safety for Coachesis an online course developed by the Red Cross and the National Federation of State High School Associations to provide an overview of first aid and “best practices” for first aid situations encountered by coaches, including injuries to officials, fellow coaches or spectators.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App, which provides users instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including heat-related emergencies. Download the app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at org/apps.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Steps to help you cope after shootings in Dayton and Texas

Red Cross responses to several disasters over weekend, including Elyria gas shutdown

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

Over the weekend, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responded to several disasters across the region.

47226259_10161035265440425_6709877211534458880_nThe Red Cross responded to seven incidents in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Mahoning, Stark and Trumbull Countries, assisting eight adults and 13 children and distributing more than $4,255 in immediate financial assistance to help the needs of residents in Northeast Ohio during their darkest hours.

One response that highlights the Red Cross’ commitment to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies occurred in Elyria.

Following a gas shutoff by Columbia Gas, the Red Cross immediately sprang into action to open a shelter in the city. Seven dedicated disaster services volunteers opened and 47208541_10161036668125425_251000959679856640_noperated the shelter for 24-hours a day over a three-day period, providing the residents of Elyria an opportunity to escape the cold, to enjoy snacks and beverages and to receive assistance and care.

This shelter not only showcases the Red Cross’ commitment to the city of Elyria and its residents, but that whenever there is a disaster or need in Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross will continue to answer the call to provide support and care wherever it is needed.

The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross is prepared 24 hours per day and seven days a week to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. However, we are unable to 47026729_10161035265435425_1725402218091249664_nserve the 22 counties and 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio without the tremendous dedication of our volunteers, which make up 90 percent of our workforce. Our volunteers are truly the face of the Red Cross. If you are interested in making an impact in local communities, the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. To volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

A gift that can make a difference

By Sue Wilson, Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter board of director. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer. 

The holiday season is a time for family and festivities. It is also a time for shopping. Yep . . . starting today with Black Friday, we will be overwhelmed with “deals” filling our inboxes, mailboxes, TV screens and news feeds. We will see and hear ads on every media source out there rivaled only by the political ads we just made it through.

183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_2_FINALFor many of us, it’s hard to think about a joyful holiday when so many people all over our great country are suffering unimaginable loss. News of more lives lost and the devastation and grief of the victims of the California wildfires greets us daily. And much of our nation is still dealing with the aftermath of this past year’s hurricanes and other localized tragedies like home fires. If the idea of buying a bunch of stuff, most of it not really needed, is hitting you this year, there’s something you can do.

Give something that means something. Give to the American Red Cross.

Donate in the name of a loved one. Wrap the receipt in an envelope and place it in a stocking. Make this type of gift giving a topic of conversation at the dinner table. Ask yourself this question: Can you remember the gifts you received last Christmas? Can you remember the gifts you bought others? Probably not. But one thing you may be able to remember, is that you spent a lot of money.

Wouldn’t it be great if you gave a gift this year that was not only memorable . . . but made a real difference?

A few facts:

  • After a disaster, the Red Cross works with community partners to provide hot meals, snacks and water served in shelters or from Red Cross emergency response vehicles in affected neighborhoods.
  • Trained Red Cross volunteers and employees are ready to deploy within hours of a disaster to help. No one else does this—not the government, not other charities.
  • From small house fires to multistate natural disasters like the wildfires in California, the American Red Cross goes wherever needed so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most.

This year, you can give a unique and meaningful gift that can make a difference to help the people met by the Red Cross every 8 minutes who have been devastated by a disaster. 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_3_FINAL

If you want to donate financial assistance for a specific disaster this past year, you can learn more by when you visit Hurricane Florence Financial Assistance Program and Hurricane Michael Financial Assistance Program. To learn about Red Cross assistance to support long-term recovery efforts, please visit Hurricane Harvey Recovery Program, Hurricane Irma Recovery Program, or California Wildfires Recovery Program.

Know that any donation made will be used it where it is needed most.

Your gift this holiday season can bring hope to those in need. This year, give something that means something. Give a gift that can make a difference.

Visit redcross.org/gifts.