Medical facilities have been overwhelmed ever since the Covid-19 outbreak began. The lockdown that was aimed to curb the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reduce the burden on health care units has also seen a reduction in the number of blood donors. The coronavirus outbreak has caused unprecedented challenges to the blood bank supply. According to Indian Red Cross Society’s weekly update as of June 4, blood units collected were 99 while united issues were 216.

Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration, in its ongoing commitment to fighting the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, issued guidelines for immediate implementation to address the urgent and immediate need for blood and blood components.

The CDC has issued advice to blood and plasma collection facilities on how to operate safely during the pandemic.

* Maintaining good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

* Following hand hygiene practices.

* Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly.

* Placing seats six feet apart in waiting areas and the collection area.

* Ensuring that donation centre workers do not work if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

* Making sure that all staff are aware of the latest policies and safety procedures in response to the pandemic.

“Blood donation is more important during a pandemic because the number has reduced significantly. However, the requirement is almost the same. There is no substitute for blood. It is safe to donate blood despite the pandemic as all hospitals and blood banks are taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr Pratik Patil, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.

Anyone who is not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 currently or has not had any illness recently, or has not come in contact with a patient of COVID 19, can donate blood.

That being said, if you are going for blood donation, follow these steps: 

* Practice hand sanitisation.

* Avoid touching your face with unsanitised hands.

* Always wear a mask.

* After returning home, change all your clothes and, if possible, take a bath too.

* Steam your face and nasal passage, just to avoid infection.

* Try drinking herbal decoctions every day, even if you are staying home.

News Source: Indian Express


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