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Blood donation: your help is needed more than ever

Close up of an arm with a blood donation needle in.

By Blake Kebblewhite

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a significant decrease in blood donations throughout Australia.

“We are currently seeing approximately 900 cancellations per day across Australia, which is an increase on this time last year,” an Australian Red Cross Lifeblood spokesperson said. 

The donation centres carefully evaluate whether donors are well enough to enter and their safety is constantly reassured.

“On arrival, you will be asked three questions about your wellbeing, recent travel, and if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has. If your responses are in line with our eligibility criteria, you will proceed to a temperature check. Donors with a fever will not be allowed to proceed with their donation,” according to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood website. 

“Our donor centres have always been highly regulated spaces and we’ve further improved that by increased disinfecting, additional hand sanitiser, restricting non-donating visitors to our centres and implementing social distancing. 

“We have also introduced new blood donation rules, including a 28 day wait period for anyone returning from overseas,” they said. 

Blood and plasma donations remain absolutely vital, there is no substitute for blood, and they can’t stockpile it. It is very important people keep donating, as 29,000 donations are needed every week for patients across Australia. Donated blood only lasts 42 days.

“Blood is needed every day for accidents, emergency surgery, new mums and cancer patients.

“In fact, one in three people will need blood in their lifetime,” the spokesperson said. 

There are currently 500,000 blood donors in Australia, but millions more may be eligible to donate, and they are in need of more blood and plasma donors.

If you want to help out head to donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95 to book an appointment and ultimately save a life. 

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