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.

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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.

On the wrong side of the hospital room – a nurse becomes the patient

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Kristin Palocko  had been engaged for a year and was looking forward to her first wedding dress fitting in 2017. Working the night shift as a critical care nurse, she was often tired, but suddenly she was more fatigued than normal.

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“That night, a doctor came into my room at the emergency department and told me that I have a bleeding disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP),” recalled Kristin.

With TTP, blood clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body. The clots can limit or prevent the oxygen-rich blood from reaching the various organs that need it.

The condition is extremely rare, affecting maybe only two people in a million. “We barely touched on it in nursing school…it’s that rare. Luckily, with so many great hospitals in our area, it’s no longer fatal.”

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Prior to the 1980s, the disease was 97 percent fatal. Now with early detection and with plasma exchange, it’s considered very treatable. Treatment can last days or even months.

“This started me on a roller coaster of a 12-day hospital stay, a central dialysis line in my neck, and multiple units of red blood cells and plasma.” Kristin received 330 units of plasma, taking four hours each for 10 of those 12 days.

“It was an eye-opening experience being on the receiving end of treatment and being on the other side of the monitors. As a nurse, I realize the value of each unit of blood. It’s like liquid gold for our patients.”

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With three months medical leave, routine doctor’s appointments, countless blood draws and continual prayers, Kristin’s condition is still stable today. TTP could come back at any time, but some people have gone 17 years without a relapse.

“Less than six months after diagnosis, I married my best friend, Brad. Ever since I’ve been diagnosed, he’s been a frequent blood donor.”

“Two years later, I am feeling blessed for everyone’s thoughts and prayers through it all—especially the blood donors. They have helped me, and numerous others, in our time of greatest need with their generous donations. Without those willing to give of their time (and blood) there would not be treatment for TTP.”

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Kristin goes to Cuyahoga Valley Church and recently saw the sign there that volunteers were needed for an upcoming American Red Cross blood drive.

“After all that plasma I used during my treatment, I felt guilty, and I realized I needed to do something to give back. So, between shifts I went to the church during the blood drive and I volunteered.”

If you’d like to volunteer at a blood drive, we would love to have you. Volunteers are invaluable to the daily operation of the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross and are truly the heart and soul of the organization. Click here to register as a volunteer or sign up here to become a donor.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Red Cross worker gives blood to honor dad’s memory, sister’s recovery

By Mary Williams, Special Events and Marketing, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

AKRON, January 23, 2019 – I went through a phase, not so long ago – in the early 2000s, when I listened to the Greatest Hits of Dan Fogelberg incessantly.

(I promise that this is going somewhere Red Cross related, folks!)

I lived with my parents at the time and would listen to the music, primarily, while doing my homework at the dining room table. The perfect place for everyone in the household to hear my obsessive 70s lite rock journey.

My father stopped on his way to the kitchen during the song Longer one day. With tears in his eyes, he confided that the song reminded him of my sister and the time when she was very sick (which would have been sometime around when the song originally came out.) With lyrics such as “longer than there’s been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you,” the song perfectly verbalized the love of a father for his daughter.

She had been diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, and while doing wonderfully now – nearly forty years later, the ensuing procedures and doctor visits were frightening for my father.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, as defined on the Mayo Clinic website, is a blood disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. The bleeding results from unusually low levels of platelets – the cells that help clot blood. Early symptoms mirror those of leukemia and other scary sounding blood related disorders.

“Though the binding cracks, and the pages start to yellow…”

Today is the sixth anniversary of my father’s passing, and so, in honor of him (and my sister) this afternoon I walked down to the Summit Blood Donation Center to donate.

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Mary Williams

The need for blood is constant.

The Red Cross currently has an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now to help ensure lifesaving medical treatments and emergency care are not delayed or canceled this winter. The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply, as busy holiday schedules kept donors away. Blood and platelet donations are needed in the coming days so that lifesaving blood products are available for patients who depend on transfusions for everyday survival.

You can help by donating (or if you can’t donate, finding a friend who can donate in your place) today by simply visiting www.redcrossblood.org and entering your zip code to find a blood drive near you.

If you, like me, are in Summit County, stop by our fixed site at the Akron Office (501 W. Market St., across from The Tangier) during these times:

Mondays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesdays; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursdays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fridays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturdays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sundays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Resolve to save a life

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer. 

2019 is already a week old and your New Year’s resolution may not be going as planned. Instead of feeling bad about another missed opportunity, the American Red Cross has a resolution that is not only easy to keep but will make you feel equally good: Resolve to save a life.

Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018January is National Blood Donor Month. If you have never given blood before or it has been a while, it is the perfect time to become a blood donor.

In the United States, there is someone who needs blood every two seconds. Unfortunately, of the 38 percent of the population who is eligible to donate, less than 10 percent actually donate.

To make it easier to donate blood this month, the Red Cross is hosting over 350 blood drives across Northeast Ohio from today until the end of January, ensuring there is a blood drive close to you. To find a scheduled blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org to search by zip code and prepare for your donation.

If you cannot attend any of the scheduled blood drives, the Red Cross has several donation centers in Northeast Ohio. For those in the Greater Cleveland area interested in giving blood and donating platelets, the Red Cross has blood donation centers in Cleveland and Parma.

The Warzel Blood Donation Center is located at the Regional Headquarters on 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018

The Parma Donation Center is located on 5585 Pearl Avenue and is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to Sunday

The Red Cross also has a donation center in our Akron office and a donation center in Mansfield.

Here are some helpful facts as you prepare to take the next steps to donate today:

  • The average person has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his or her body.
  • There are four blood groups: A, B, AB and O.
  • Red cells, which contain hemoglobin, carry oxygen throughout the blood and give blood its red color, are used to treat trauma or surgery patients.
  • Platelets helps prevent massive blood loss by helping blood clot and is used to treat cancer patients, organ transplant patients and surgery patients.
  • You can donate blood every 56 days and you can donate platelets up to 24 times per year.
  • You must be at least 17 years old to donate. In Ohio, you can donate blood if you are 16 years old and have written parental consent.
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply
    for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.
  • From beginning to end, the blood donation process takes about one hour and 15 minutes to donate blood and three hours to donate platelets.
  • The Red Cross does not charge for the blood itself, but does recoup the many costs associated with the donation process.
  • After you donate, you can enjoy juice and cookies in the refreshment area and think about the difference you’ve made!

Blood Donation 2018

Visit RedCrossBlood.org today to sign up to donate. This is a journey you can start this new year and resolve to continue every 56 days.

Happy Thanksgiving! Please donate blood!

A message from Regional CEO Mike Parks

Northeast Ohio Red Cross Family:  This is truly a special time of year.  This holiday, Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other, is truly reflective of the nature and character of the American Red Cross.  As we give thanks for all our bountiful blessings, we can’t help but reflect upon the countless people our organization has helped in their times of need.  This season is about caring about others—and that’s what the Red Cross does each and every day of the year.  Simply put, when there is a need–the American Red Cross shows up, cares, and serves.  For that, I’m incredibly grateful—to say nothing of the gratitude felt by those we serve.

Speaking of which, it’s been said we should begin each day with a grateful heart.  I am so grateful for all our partners & stakeholders, generous donors (blood products and financial), amazing volunteers, and dedicated staff who help us prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies each and every day.  Because of you—we’re able to accomplish the American Red Cross humanitarian mission—thank you!!

IMG_6437One of those missions is providing the nation a safe and secure blood supply.  It’s regrettable that less than 40% of our nation’s population CAN give blood (for a variety of reasons).  What’s far more regrettable is that less than 10% of that population CHOOSES to give blood.  My challenge to all of us is to not be part of that 90% of the population that can give but chooses not to donate this life saving product.  Please find time over the next five weeks to donate blood to the American Red Cross.  If you can’t donate, then please encourage a family member, colleague, and/or friend to give.  Every donation counts!!  Thank you in advance for making a difference and helping save lives!

If you’re travelling…please stay safe!  Thank you again for all you do as part of the world’s premier humanitarian organization!! I wish you and yours a wonderfully enjoyable & safe Thanksgiving.

Best regards…Mike

The ABCs of Donating A, B, A/B and O

What All Donors Need To Know Before Rolling Up Their Sleeves

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Services

The need for lifesaving blood and platelets is constant. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. And your contribution is important for a stable and reliable blood supply. But before you schedule your appointment to donate blood, here is information to ensure you’re prepared for a successful donation.

To donate blood, you must be:

  • At least 17 years-old in most states, or 16 years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law (such as Ohio).
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • You must be in good general health and feeling well on the day of your donation.

Prior to your blood donation, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. When you come to give, you will also be asked to show a donor card, driver’s license, or other form(s) of ID.

The entire blood donation process takes about an hour from start to finish. It consists of :

  • Registration
  • A mini-physical
  • The actual donation
  • Refreshments!

The actual blood donation takes about 8-10 minutes and you will donate one pint of blood (the average person has 10-12 pints). Your one pint consists of three components, red blood cells, platelets and plasma and each one can be given to a different patient based on their need. With each blood donation you have the potential to help save up to three lives!

Join the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and make an appointment now to give blood. Download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).