In the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is a desperate shortage of platelets and also plasma for the blood banks and hospitals. Below are specific recommendations for potential donors to prepare for and to donate blood Covid-Safely.
This list was adapted from advice and guidance provided by The World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), The American Red Cross, and first hand experience donating platelets in March 2020.
Most importantly, schedule an appointment!
Prepare for the outing the way you would go to the supermarket
- Safety supplies: nitrile gloves, purell, face covering
This stuff is probably already in your car or near your front door.
You won’t wear gloves after you’ve checked in, but there are doors and a bathroom stop before you start.
You may wear a face mask throughout if you choose. You won’t be active, but think about comfort.
Don’t forget to pack a clean pair of gloves for when you’ll leave.
- Don’t bring anything you don’t need
You don’t need your entire purse (as an example).
- Complete the RapidPass in advance
You will get an email about it 2 days before your appointment. It will reduce your time during intake.
- Tie hair back & wear comfortable clothes
Short sleeve shirts enable easy arm access (consider wearing socks, your body may feel weirdly chilled during the process).
- Eat a hearty breakfast and drink extra water
The water part is important. You will want to be hydrated and will NOT be able to move your hands (to drink water) once you are in the process.
- Limit what you bring inside
Leave purses and anything extra at home. You won’t use a water bottle once inside, so leave it at home. They’ll give you water and juice. The less you bring, the less you’ll feel inclined to clean when you get home.
Things to Bring
- Your own blanket & socks
Outdoor blankets are easy to wipe down and warm. You will want one to stay warm and to hide the equipment— who needs to see that?
They offer warmed blankets. They have revised their protocol to wash the blanket after each use. But if you have an extra blanket at home, bring it, they won’t mind.
- Netflix or Audio-book
Make sure you have it in a case/stand that can rest on your legs without hands. Each office is different. In the one I went to, their setup includes a tv stand per bed, kind of like business class in airplanes. But then their library of movies is in a filing cabinet drawer that I would have had to leaf through. No thank you. Bring your own, make sure you don’t need to touch it and can set it on your legs.
Or an audio-book to listen to. Turning pages of a print book (or flipping the page turn button of a digital book) won’t be easy to do when your arms are strapped in.
You probably don’t want to be borrowing these, do you?
- Snacks for the car-ride home
You will get a snack when you are done donating. You will eat it in the center during your short recovery period. Don’t bother bringing in your snack, just keep it for in the car for after.
Come home safely
- Once you get back to your car, pause. You did a really great job. You made a difference in saving a human life. Thank you. Please get home safely.
- Remove gloves before entering car.
- Purell before opening car door handle.
- Get in car. Eat the chocolate you stashed. Drive home. Listen to music. Feel proud.
- Want to go a step further?: Once you get home, change your clothes outside, put clothes in plastic bag for 2 days before bringing into home and laundering.