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Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know

Donating Blood is Safe − and Needed − During Coronavirus

Blood donations are essential for transfusions that save the lives of trauma patients, those with blood disorders, like sickle cell disease, or other conditions such as cancer.

Even as coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the United States and globally, the need for blood donations remains. Blood drives and blood donor appointments are being cancelled at a high rate due to the effect of people staying home and social distancing. The lack of blood donations will cause the nation’s blood supply to decrease. To ensure an adequate blood supply can be maintained at all times, it is imperative that healthy, eligible individuals donate blood to their local blood donor center. Since blood is a living substance, the shelf life is short and must continually be replenished.

Blood donation is safe. The blood collectors check the health of all donors before they are allowed to donate. Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion. We ask that all donors come with their masks on, as recommended by the CDC, and to respect social distancing. Anyone who is not feeling well should refrain from donating blood. We want to reinforce that only those donors who feel healthy on the day of donation and who are completely asymptomatic should donate, even excluding those who report symptoms from allergies.

The blood donation process is easy and doesn’t require a lot of time. Donating whole blood takes about 30-35 minutes. Platelet donations take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. Plasma can take a little over an hour and double red blood cells can take about one and a half hours. Most people feel great after donating.

The average person has 8-12 pints of blood in their body and a standard blood donation provides one pint of blood. This one pint of blood can be used for four to five children.

Those who have appointments or a scheduled blood drive are encouraged to stay committed.

Schedule an appointment to donate blood. Learn more about what Children's National is doing to protect our patients, families and staff from COVID-19.