blood drive

Two blood drives are planned in August, one is Aug. 10 at Mount Cross Lutheran Church and the second is Aug. 18 at Banner Payson High Country Seniors Community Room.

You’re feeling well, healthy — but also wondering if you might have recovered from COVID-19 a few months back. Healthy donors can sign up online to give a pint of blood Monday, Aug. 10 at Mount Cross Lutheran Church, 601 E. Highway 260. Each donation will be tested for antibodies.

The day’s blood drive schedule is wide open, with a choice of times from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 45 donors needed as of press time.

Rim residents can also sign up for the Tuesday, Aug. 18 blood drive at Banner Payson High Country Seniors community room. Pick your choice of appointment times conveniently online using search keyword “payson” or our zip code 85541 at bloodhero.com

Giving blood is safe. There is no evidence that respiratory viruses can be transmitted through blood donation, and blood drive staff and volunteers take precautions to assure physical distancing and donors’ safety.

The American Red Cross is scrambling to make up for cancellation of 13,000 blood drives across the United States, an unprecedented loss of 400,000 donations.

If you’re among many people who believe they may have contracted and recovered from COVID-19, both Vitalant and the American Red Cross announced last month that all blood donations are now being screened for antibodies to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Vitalant sponsors both August blood drives in Payson and reports, “We are providing this test to help find donors who are positive for antibodies, and who could help COVID-19 patients by becoming future convalescent plasma donors. Whether you test positive or negative for antibodies, we’ll provide you with your antibody test results. Appointments are strongly recommended; read more at vitalant.org/antibodytest.

The antibody tests are part of a full panel of tests that Vitalant performs on successful blood donations. Donors are not charged for the tests. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. Because antibodies are part of the body’s immune response and not the virus itself, antibody testing cannot be used to diagnose current coronavirus infection. To tell if someone has an active infection, a viral nucleic acid test on a nose or throat swab is required. Antibody tests are used to tell if someone had a past infection with SARS-CoV-2. This testing, however, does not indicate whether the antibodies neutralize the virus and protect against reinfection. While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma and help people who are still recovering from coronavirus infection. Over time, antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide the medical community with more information on whether a person who has recovered from COVID-19 is immune to the virus and for how long.

Please remember, the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test is not a way for you to find out if you are currently infected with this virus. If you are feeling unwell, please do not donate blood. Stay home or seek medical care, as needed, and consider scheduling a donation once you have recovered.

Schedule an appointment by phone, 877-258-4825, or conveniently online at bloodhero.com.

Each year, nearly 5 million Americans need blood transfusions. Blood helps trauma and burn patients, premature infants, heart surgery patients, organ transplant recipients and those fighting cancer, among others. In emergencies, it’s the blood already on hospital shelves that saves lives.

Vitalant, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, supplies comprehensive transfusion medicine services to nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states.

Donating blood is one of the easiest ways to give back to your community. If you’ve never donated blood before, we encourage you to try. We’ll guide you through every step and answer questions. Here’s what you can expect, eligibility requirements and things you can do ahead of time to make your experience pleasant and rewarding.

Donation process

It takes about an hour — from the time you arrive to the time you leave — to complete a whole blood donation. The actual donation time is only about 10 minutes. Whole blood donation is most often given by new donors and is the most common type of donation. We also use special technology to collect specific blood components — red blood cells, platelets and plasma — from donors to best match current patient needs.

Before you roll up your sleeve to help someone else, please take care of yourself:

• Eat a healthy, low-fat meal within two hours ahead of your donation.

• The day before, eat a salty snack. When you donate blood, you lose about a gram of salt. Replacing it ahead of time helps keep your blood pressure normal.

• Hydrate by drinking 8 to 16 ounces of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages one hour before you donate.

• Avoid or limit caffeinated sodas, coffee, iced tea and energy drinks on the day of donation.

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