As we enter the holiday season, there’s one more priceless gift you can add to your to-do list—a blood donation. The American Red Cross and San Diego Blood Bank have both recently put out calls asking for donations in the coming weeks. Every year, donations tend to decrease between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but they’re needed now more than ever to shore up San Diego’s fight against COVID-19. Read on to find out if you’re qualified and where you can donate blood this month.
Who Can Donate
If you’re in good health, then you’re most likely able to give blood, but there are a few requirements to keep in mind. You must be 18 years or older (16- or 17-year-olds may donate with written parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in overall good health. The FDA currently forbids men from donating if they’ve had sex with another man within the last three months; see the blood bank’s frequently asked questions page for other specific exceptions.
The San Diego Blood Bank recently put out a call strongly encouraging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate, because the convalescent plasma in their blood might help other COVID-19 patients. Historically, convalescent plasma was helpful in treating similar viruses like SARS, MERS, and the Spanish flu.
Where to Donate
Donations through the San Diego Blood Bank require an appointment, which you can schedule on their website. The organization partners with locations across the county for both mobile drive-up and walk-in blood drives. Search by zip code to find the blood drive nearest to you.
The American Red Cross also requires appointments, depending on what kind of donation you’re making—whole blood, power red, platelet, or AB elite plasma. Be sure to review the requirements for each category and search for the nearest location based on your zip code.
Other Ways to Help
Does the thought of giving blood make you squeamish? There are still plenty of other ways you can help the cause. Both organizations have options for you to volunteer, make a financial donation, or host your own virtual blood drive.