How You Can Help Your Community Address COVID-19

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How You Can Help Your Community Address COVID-19

COVID--9 has ravaged the United States and the world. Vaccines are slowly being administered, but the death toll is expected to be over 500,000 by late February. While front line workers are doing everything they can to fight the disease, there is something you can do. COVID-19 plasma donations are needed. If you were diagnosed with Covid 19 and have recovered, officials are asking for you to donate your plasma. 

1. What is plasma?

Plasma, sometimes referred to as AB plasma, is the liquid part of your blood that transports all the other components. It moves red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, enzymes, and waste products throughout your body. When separated from the other elements, it is a thin, yellow liquid.

2. How do you donate plasma?

Donating plasma is very similar to donating blood. You relax in a chair while blood is removed from a needle inserted into your arm. Unlike a regular blood donation, the blood is then mechanically separated, with the plasma collected for donation and all the other components returned to you via a needle in your other arm.

3. Does it hurt to donate plasma?

The donation process can take 45 minutes to an hour. Most people bring a book to read or headphones so they can listen to music. While the process of donating plasma does take a little longer than the traditional blood donation process, it is entirely painless. 

4. What should you do after donating?

After donating, you are typically told to rest for a few minutes and are given cookies and juice. You may become dehydrated so it is important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the rest of the day as well. If you do not feel light-headed, you are free to leave and resume normal activities. Heavy activities, like sports or working out at the gym, are not recommended, however. 

5. How will donating COVID-19 plasma help?

COVID-19 plasma, sometimes called convalescent plasma, has antibodies that could help other patients in need. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of convalescent plasma to help patients currently suffering from the effects of COVID-19. Any measures are being used to save lives. 

6. Who can donate COVID-19 plasma?

Anyone who has had COVID-19 and recovered can donate COVID-19 plasma. You must be symptom-free for two weeks, but you do not need a negative COVID-19 test.  Note that while all blood types can typically donate plasma, the American Red Cross Blood Services division states that AB positive and AB negative blood is currently needed for COVID-19 plasma donations. These two blood types make up just 4 percent of the population. AB positive and AB negative are needed because AB blood is universally accepted by all patients. 

7. Where can you go to donate COVID-19 plasma?

To donate COVID-19 plasma, contact your local American Red Cross office, state or county health department, or the COVID-19 contact person at your local hospital. They will be able to direct you to your nearest blood and plasma donation site. You can also sign up online to donate via the American Red Cross website.

8. How can you help if I haven't had COVID-19?

Donate blood. If you can't donate COVID-19 plasma, consider donating blood. There are widespread blood shortages throughout the United States. Months of lockdowns, quarantining, and social distancing have reduced the number of blood drives as well as access to traditional blood donation sites, leading to a severe shortage of available blood.

The need is urgent. Your antibodies may save lives. You can contact a local COVID-19 plasma donation site to learn how you can donate today.

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Donate Your Annual Vacation Time to a Worthy Cause I put in a lot of long hours at work, so I typically greatly enjoy spending my annual vacation time either lounging around the house on a "staycation" or taking a trip to a fun destination. One year when vacation time was approaching, a friend mentioned that they had just completed a humanitarian mission in a foreign country. They told me how rewarding the experience was and I immediately realized how I wanted to spend my vacation. I didn't realize that everyday people like me could join groups that travel to foreign countries to be helpful for just short periods of time, but was glad I found out. I am now eager to volunteer for a worthy cause during every vacation and am eager to share my experiences and tips and tricks for choosing the right humanitarian missions to join on my new blog!