Penn State Health

The Medical Minute: How you can donate blood safely now

13-Jan-2021 4:20 PM EST, by Penn State Health

Newswise — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many of the region’s blood drives disappeared. According to the American Red Cross, blood drive cancellations tripled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and collections at high schools and colleges dropped by more than 50% compared with the prior year.

Yet the need for blood, plasma and platelet donations remains strong locally and nationally. “We’ve seen a 16% increase in the number of transfusions overall compared to pre-COVID-19,” said Sean Erony, section chief for the blood bank in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

January is National Blood Donor Month, a nearly 50-year-old tradition that helps spread the word about the importance of donating blood, plasma or platelets. Tertiary care centers such as the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center rely on donations to help save lives. The American Red Cross estimates a daily need for 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma nationwide.

“Treating patients is a 24/7/365 mission, and you never know when a desperately ill patient—a tiny newborn, an adult needing a bone marrow transplant, or a trauma patient—will need blood,” said Dr. Melissa George, medical director of the blood bank at Hershey Medical Center. George estimates trauma patients may need as many as 100 units of red blood cells because of critical bleeding during and after an accident.

In Pennsylvania, anyone older than 16 may donate blood. Donors must be in relatively good health and weigh 110 pounds or more. People experiencing an illness, people with low iron or those who have traveled outside the U.S. to countries with high rates of malaria may not be eligible. However, “People who had COVID-19 can give blood so long as they are 14 days out from the resolution of symptoms,” George said. The American Red Cross offers this list of blood donor eligibility facts.

The American Red Cross, Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank and Miller Keystone Blood Center all accept blood donations that help benefit patients in our region. During blood drives at Hershey Medical Center throughout the pandemic, the American Red Cross added more safety precautions, requiring mask-wearing for donors and blood-drive employees, taking donors’ temperatures at the door and ensuring proper social distancing.

While a persistent need exists for the donation of all blood products, donations for convalescent plasma for patients fully recovered from COVID-19 are in particularly high demand. This plasma may be a COVID-19 treatment. “Our blood bank members have transfused almost 200 units of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma at Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center,” Erony said.

Just one blood donation potentially can save as many as three lives. Donation also brings a personal satisfaction from helping others. “It’s always a rewarding feeling when you’re able to give something to a patient in need,” George said. 

The Medical Minute is a weekly health news feature produced by Penn State Health. Articles feature the expertise of faculty, physicians and staff, and are designed to offer timely, relevant health information of interest to a broad audience.




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4578
Newswise: UCLA Researcher’s Team Finds Common Blood Pressure Medications do not Increase COVID-19 Risk
Released: 18-Jan-2021 12:05 PM EST
UCLA Researcher’s Team Finds Common Blood Pressure Medications do not Increase COVID-19 Risk
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Dr. Marc Suchard, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, co-led international research team looking at two widely used types of blood pressure drugs.

Newswise: UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Researchers Say Mask Mandates Could add $1 Trillion to the U.S. GDP
Released: 18-Jan-2021 12:05 PM EST
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Researchers Say Mask Mandates Could add $1 Trillion to the U.S. GDP
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

The team, including UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professors Anne Rimoin and Christina Ramirez, found that near-universal adoption of nonmedical masks in public, combined with complementary public health measures, could successfully eliminate spread of the infection. and add $1 Trillion to the U.S. GDP.

Released: 18-Jan-2021 10:45 AM EST
Mount Sinai Researchers Build Models Using Machine Learning Technique to Enhance Predictions of COVID-19 Outcomes
Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai researchers have published one of the first studies using federated learning to examine electronic health records to better predict how COVID-19 patients will progress.

Newswise:Video Embedded pregnant-women-should-consider-taking-the-covid-19-vaccine
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jan-2021 7:50 AM EST
Pregnant women should consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
University of Washington School of Medicine

f pregnant individuals catch COVID they will generally get sicker than non-pregnant individuals. They also more commonly end up on ECMO [heart-lung support], in the ICU or on ventilators.

Newswise: Have allergies? Worried about COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t be.
Released: 18-Jan-2021 7:40 AM EST
Have allergies? Worried about COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t be.
UW Medicine

Even people who have experienced severe allergic reactions to food, latex, pets, pollen, or bee stings should get the coronavirus vaccine, UW Medicine allergy and infectious disease experts say.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:40 PM EST
Research Links Social Isolation to COVID-19 Protocol Resistance
Humboldt State University

As health officials continue to implore the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, recent research by Humboldt State University Psychology Professor Amber Gaffney provides key insights into connections between social isolation, conspiratorial thinking, and resistance to COVID-19 protocols.

Newswise: Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:35 PM EST
Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Washington University in St. Louis

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. The blood test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, which normally resides inside the energy factories of cells. Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:55 PM EST
COVID-19 deaths really are different. But best practices for ICU care should still apply, studies suggest.
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

COVID-19 deaths are indeed different from other lung failure deaths, according to two recent studies, with 56% of COVID-19 patients dying primarily from the lung damage caused by the virus, compared with 22% of those whose lungs fail due to other causes. But, the researchers conclude, the kind of care needed to help sustain people through the worst cases of all forms of lung failure is highly similar, and just needs to be fine-tuned.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:50 PM EST
45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts that could help them sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As the vaccination of older adults against COVID-19 begins across the country, new poll data suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to the “patient portal” online systems that could make it much easier for them to schedule a vaccination appointment. In all, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80 had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system.


Showing results

110 of 4578

close
1.69173