‘How soon can I give blood after having COVID?’ & answers to other donation questions, amid national blood crisis

MADISON, Wis.– For the first time in its 140 year history, the American Red Cross is declaring a ‘National Blood Crisis,’ limiting the amount of blood it’s able to give hospitals and leading doctors to make difficult decisions about who they’re able to help… and who they’re not.

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The shortage is the result of fewer donors and drives during the pandemic, according to the Red Cross. And that’s why the non-profit is asking everyone who reads this to help, if they can.

Is it safe to donate right now?

Yes. Red Cross Executive Director Kyle Kriegl says the Southwest Wisconsin chapter is spacing out appointments, requiring all donors wear masks, and encouraging anyone who is even remotely sick to reschedule amid this latest surge.

Can I donate if I’ve had COVID?

Yes. Once you’ve made a full recovery, it is safe for both you and the workers collecting your blood to participate in that process. A general rule of thumb is to wait at least 14 days after you’ve had a fever, cough, or any symptoms.

Does it matter if I’m vaccinated?

No. Vaccinated or not, the Red Cross can benefit from your donation.

What about blood type?

Blood type doesn’t matter either.

“The biggest thing we ask folks is to make sure you’re healthy, feeling well, and well-hydrated,” said Kriegl. “Blood is blood.”

How long will it take?

The donation process itself takes ten minutes or less, and with donors asked to sign up for appointments ahead of time online, you shouldn’t have to wait long, if at all.

How many people will my donation help?

One donation can save up to three lives, according to the American Red Cross.

“You can help us get those blood levels back up to where they need to be. Almost every person can make a difference,” said Kriegl.

MORE: What first-time blood donors can expect

How can I make an appointment?

Kriegl says the best way you can help TODAY is to schedule an appointment online, over the phone, or using the Red Cross Donor app.

Click here to make your appointment today.