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Who Can and Cannot Donate Blood During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Who Can and Cannot Donate Blood During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Keep these tips in mind if you plan to donate blood during the coronavirus pandemic

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Due to the novel coronavirus, which has spread rapidly through multiple countries including the United States, the need for blood and platelet donations from healthy individuals is crucial. The Red Cross is encouraging blood and platelet donors to continue scheduling appointments throughout the crisis — but there are a number of things you should know before donating.

Can you donate blood if you have consumed or smoked marijuana?

Can you donate blood if you have consumed or smoked marijuana?

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As long as you meet the basic requirements — you’re in good health, 16 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds — you are eligible to donate blood if you used non-synthetic marijuana. Marijuana is a plant that can be used naturally for medicinal and recreational purposes. But synthetic marijuana is a man-made version of the plant that could make you ineligible to donate blood, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA warns that the blood establishment’s responsible physician should decide how to address a donor who presents with a history of synthetic cannabinoid use.

Can you donate blood if you have been exposed to coronavirus?

Can you donate blood if you have been exposed to coronavirus?

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The Red Cross only accepts blood from individuals who are healthy at the time of their donation. Individuals who have been exposed after caring for someone who has coronavirus or someone who has recently recovered from the virus must wait 28 days after being symptom-free to donate blood. All donors will also have their temperature checked and undergo a mini-physical to ensure they’re healthy on the day of their donation.

Do labs screen your blood for coronavirus?

Do labs screen your blood for coronavirus?

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Each donor is screened for transmissible diseases by questionnaire at the time of their donation. Each unit of blood is also screened for various infectious diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, blood is not being screened for the novel coronavirus.

Can blood donors wear a mask?

Can blood donors wear a mask?

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The Red Cross requires donors to properly wear a mask. If you don’t own a mask and still want to donate, one will be provided to you. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, the Red Cross is asking that you postpone your donation appointment.

Can you donate blood if you are on medication?

Can you donate blood if you are on medication?

 

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You are typically eligible to donate blood if you’re taking medication. Your eligibility to donate will be based on the reason that the medication was prescribed to you. If your condition is under control and you’re healthy, you’re likely able to donate. But some drugs, like Accutane, Aspirin and Propecia, have a waiting period before blood donation is permitted. Check the Red Cross’ website for a full list of medications that have waiting periods for blood donation.

Can you donate blood if you have recently traveled?

Can you donate blood if you have recently traveled?

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While many countries have instituted travel restrictions to mitigate risks of the coronavirus spreading, you aren’t necessarily ineligible to donate blood if you’ve recently traveled. According to the FDA, some donor establishments will defer donors who have traveled due to the coronavirus. For example, Vitalant will not accept donations from anyone who has traveled outside of the U.S. in the last four weeks. People who have recently traveled should come prepared with their travel details at the time of their donation. And if you have more questions, check out a complete guide on traveling during coronavirus.

What if I live somewhere that is sheltering in place?

What if I live somewhere that is sheltering in place?

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The Red Cross has made it possible for people to donate even in areas that have shelter-in-place declarations. If you’re looking for more ways to give back to your community than just by donating blood, here’s how to send free meals to frontline coronavirus workers as well as other acts of kindness you can do from home.

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