Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by American Red Cross

INDIANAPOLIS — When schools let out for summer and families set off on vacation, the American Red Cross typically sees a decline in donors, which can impact patient care. It’s critically important that donors make an appointment to give now before heading out for summer activities to help maintain a stable blood supply in the coming months.

Unfortunately, the need for blood doesn’t take a summer break. Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for patients with blood disorders, trauma victims and those experiencing difficult childbirths.

In thanks for helping boost the blood supply, all who come to give through May 19, 2022, will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice and will also be automatically entered to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps eight. Details are available at rcblood.org/camper. Those who come to give May 20-31 will receive an exclusive 20-ounce Red Cross aluminum water bottle and customizable sticker set, while supplies last.

Donors can help save a life in just an hour. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, platelets or plasma, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Health insights for donors  

The Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time. Results may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus after vaccination or past exposure, regardless of whether they developed symptoms.   

Plasma from routine blood, platelet and plasma donations that have high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet potential future needs of COVID-19 patients with a weakened immune system.  

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose infection, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who have been asked to quarantine or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation until they are symptom free for 10 days and feeling well and healthy.  

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.     

Donors can expect to receive antibody testing results and sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.   

Blood drive safety  

The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. The Red cross will continue to socially distance wherever possible at blood drives, donation centers and facilities. While donors are no longer required to wear a face mask, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason. The Red Cross will also adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance, or at the request of blood drive sponsors. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive. 

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. 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. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may 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.

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

SOURCE: News release from American Red Cross

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.