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With record cancellations of blood drives due to the closure of many facilities hosting the drives, the American Red Cross needs blood donations now more than ever.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Why? Fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to donate blood.

But blood drives continue to be cancelled at alarming rates, according to the American Red Cross.

Patients need a sufficient blood supply throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond. Healthy individuals are needed to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on lifesaving blood, platelets or AB Elite plasma.

Donating blood products is essential to community health and eligible donors are strongly urged to donate during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations. 

The Red Cross also urges organizations to maintain scheduled blood drives (although several in the Sun Prairie area have been cancelled). 

The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.

Specially trained technical staff are available at each blood collection center and details of each donor’s health and activities are discussed in a confidential setting prior to blood donation. The majority of donor eligibility rules are specified by the Food and Drug Administration for every collection center in the country. Other rules are determined by the medical professionals at specific blood centers, or with other regulatory bodies.

A blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer.  One of the most important things you can do to ensure the United States doesn’t experience another health care crisis on top of coronavirus is to make an appointment to donate.

To donate whole blood every 56 days, donors must be in good health and feeling well, at least 16 years old in most states and weigh at least 110 lbs. 

To schedule a donation, call (800) RED-CROSS or log on to https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=53590 for drives in the Sun Prairie area (including donation opportunities in Madison). 

Most whole blood donations take an hour. Whole blood can be transfused in its original form, or used to help multiple people when separated into its specific components of red cells, plasma and platelets, according to the Red Cross. Whole blood is frequently given to trauma patients and people undergoing surgery.

So many health care workers and first responders are being viewed as heroes and are urging us to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With health precautions in place by the Red Cross, you can join your heroes simply be rolling up your sleeves to donate blood.

Make an appointment roll up your sleeve now to give blood at the East Madison American Red Cross location at 2109 Zeier Road in the City of Madison. 

Be a health care hero! 

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