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January is Designated National Blood Donor Month

This is to honor voluntary blood donors while encouraging more people to give more blood. According to the American Red Cross, the winter is “one of the most difficult times of the year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.” People stop donating blood during the holidays and during the cold and flu season because more people get sick.

Blood is needed every two seconds in the U.S. to help patients battling illness and injury. COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise across the US and blood, platelet and plasma donations are continuing to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

For a limited time, the American Red Cross is including sickle cell trait screening on all self-identified African American donors. Compatible blood types can be identified quicker. This helps sickle cell patients and African American donors have additional health insight regarding their health information. But, this testing does not diagnose sickle cell disease.

Everyone can still donate blood as long as you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, feel well and after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. You will need to know and be able to give the name of your COVID-19 vaccine’s manufacturer ( Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer).

Giving blood can help your mental state by providing an altruistic interaction resulting from doing something good for someone else. Donating blood has shown to have a positive effect of greater happiness and better health. The happiness level is increased through shifting aspirations and empathic emotions. Donating blood reduces stress, enhances emotional well-being, minimizes negative thoughts and feelings and provides a sense of belonging while reducing feelings of social isolation.