Can I Donate Blood and Stay Safe from COVID-19?
The idea of blood donation can scare people. However, just like we haven’t stopped grocery shopping or stopped receiving parcels, evidence suggests that blood donation shouldn’t be one of the activities one must develop a phobia around.
Can I Get COVID-19 from Blood Donations?
No cases of transfusion-transmission have ever been in reported in the two coronaviruses which have emerged in the past two decades, namely SARS and MERS-CoV.
Studies till date have shown that virus detection has only been detected in the blood of symptomatic patients of COVID-19. The authorities do everything in their power to exclude infected or potentially-infected patients.
The Ministry of Health has released guidelines for the safe collection of blood and continues to monitor the situation. The authorities must now follow:
- Exclusion of at-risk donors, such as people with travel or contact-with-COVID-19 history.
- Social distancing measures.
- Infection control measures such as practicing and promoting hand hygiene.
To help the authorities in keeping a check on the spread situation, you must co-operate with the social distancing and infection control measures and practice cough etiquettes, i.e., coughing into a tissue or your elbow instead of your palms.
Why is Blood Donation Important?
WHO stresses that the only way to maintain an adequate supply of safe blood is via regular donations from voluntary and unpaid donors. Due to the recent lockdown and due to the fear of catching COVID-19 blood donations have reduced.
Now more than ever, blood transfusion will help:
- Women with complications of pregnancy
- Children with severe anaemia
- People with severe trauma
- Complex medical and surgical procedures
Can Patients Who Have Had Corona Donate Safely?
Fully recovered patients of COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood. These antibodies can be extracted in the form of plasma and can help in the recovery of other COVID-19 patients.
Full recovered patients should sign up for plasma donations.
The 14th of June is World Blood Donor Day. It’s as good a time as any to not only donate blood, but also to educate our friends and family about the safety of blood donation and the importance of it.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ‘National Guidance to Blood Transfusion Services in India in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic’, PDF on the official website (accessed on 10th June, 2020)
- World Health Organization, ‘Why Should I Donate Blood’, official website (accessed on 10th June, 2020)
- World Health Organization, ‘World Blood Donor Day 2020’, official website (accessed on 10th June, 2020)
- American Red Cross, ‘Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients’, official website (accessed 17th June, 2020)
- American Red Cross, ‘What to know about the Coronavirus and Blood Donation’, official website (accessed 17th June, 2020)