By Sam Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer
Fall is here, and along with it comes flu season. If you are a regular blood donor, you may have questions about the flu shot and if it will affect your ability to donate blood (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t!). Even if you donate blood less frequently or you have not donated before, the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio answers some common questions about getting the flu vaccine and shares what you need to know about donating blood this fall and winter.
Why should people get their annual flu vaccine?
- Getting your yearly flu shot is the best line of defense against the flu. If you do get sick, your symptoms might not be as severe if you are vaccinated.
- While some people may think getting the flu is no big deal, it can be serious – even for those who are healthy.
- Vaccination to prevent influenza is especially important for people who are at high risk for developing serious complications from the flu. Members of their household or those who are in close, frequent contact with individuals who are high risk should get vaccinated.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions.
- There are different flu vaccines approved for different age groups and for some people, like those who are pregnant or have certain chronic health conditions.
- If you have any questions, talk to your primary care provider.
What do I need to know about the flu vaccine and donating blood?
- Getting the flu vaccine helps to support a healthy community and ensure that patients have access to lifesaving blood products year round.
- When you get a flu shot, you don’t need to defer or delay your next blood donation.
- If you do get the flu, it is important to wait until you no longer exhibit symptoms and have recovered completely before attempting to donate.
Can I get my flu shot and COVID-19 shot at the same time?
- It is safe to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccination shots at the same time.
- Talk to your health care provider to see if you are eligible to get your COVID booster or if you have any questions.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
There are several places that offer flu shots in our community. You can check with your local pharmacy or schedule an appointment with your primary care provider’s office to get your vaccine. Additionally, some local county public health departments may offer flu vaccine clinics. Check your local county health department’s website for more information.
How frequently can you donate blood?
Have you considered donating blood this year? If so, you should know that you can donate more than once per year. You can provide whole blood donations every eight weeks (56 days), up to six times per year. You must wait 16 weeks (112 days) between Power Red donations. Platelet donors can give every seven days, up to 24 times per year. Plasma donors can give every 28 days, up to 13 times per year. As a thank-you, all who come to give Oct. 16-31, 2022, will receive a $10 e-Gift Card by email to a merchant of choice.
The Red Cross holds blood drives across Northern Ohio regularly. You can help save lives by giving blood. To find an upcoming blood drive near you, visit www.redcross.org/give-blood.
Edited By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
Posted by Ryan Lang, American Red Cross board member and volunteer