It’s really easy to feel helpless at a time like this. The world is facing a pandemic that impacts every aspect of our lives. People are (or should be) staying home and avoiding others. Although circumstances are rough, there is something you can do to help others and to make yourself feel a little better: donate blood. 

The United States is facing a severe blood shortage due to the cancellation of blood drives resulting from coronavirus concerns. 

“We’ve had about 7,000 blood drives canceled in the coming weeks as workplaces and schools close,” Red Cross spokesperson April Phillips told Cheddar. “That’s over 200,000 blood donations that we won’t be collecting in the coming weeks but are still needed for patients.”

I’m a regular blood donor. Every year on my birthday, I donate blood and encourage my friends to do it too. You can save up to three lives for every one donation! When I heard about the shortage, I made an appointment with my local blood bank. Here’s how it went

When I arrived at the blood center, there was a sign on the door instructing people that they could only enter one at a time. When I went inside, the nurse immediately took my temperature. This is a new part of the procedure that has been implemented since the COVID-19 outbreak. I was also greeted by this sign:

After I passed the temp check, I filled out some forms on a laptop and was given a wipe to clean the computer before and after. There were signs up all over the place alerting people that their blood would not be tested for COVID-19.

I went into a small office to answer the standard questions you are asked when you donate blood: How do you feel? Where have you traveled in the past three years, etc.? Then, I had my blood tested and off I went. 

In the donation area, the chairs were over 6-feet apart and they left a chair empty between every person. The donation process was the same as it always is, which is to say, donating blood is a very sterile process. 

Some unexpected side effects of donating blood:

I know the thought of traveling somewhere to donate blood is scary. It feels like every time we leave our apartment, we are risking getting sick, but if you are a healthy person and take proper precautions getting to a blood center, donating blood is one of the best things you can do right now, and hey, you may even save a life — or three. 

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