Mythbusters: The truth about coronavirus (COVID-19)

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As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the United States, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center wants to make sure donors have the facts.

Healthy people must regularly donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. Since it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive treatment. If you are feeling healthy and well, we strongly encourage you to schedule and keep blood donations regularly to help patients in our local hospitals.

MYTH: Donating blood during this time is unsafe.

FACT: No cases of coronavirus or flu virus have been linked to blood exposure. Instead, we protect ourselves and our donors by maintaining clean hands, wearing gloves, cleaning work surfaces and covering coughs and sneezes.

The coronavirus does not pose any risk to blood donors, either during the donation process or while attending organized blood drives. Given this information, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not recommended blood centers take any additional action at this time.

The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism, in coordination with the country’s blood collection establishments, has been monitoring the evolving public health situation and preparing for potential further spread. Brian Gannon, President and CEO at The Blood Center chairs this task force. The Blood Center’s staff makes safety a top priority, emphasizing best practices by maintaining sterile equipment and prioritizing cleanliness and donor safety.

MYTH: We don’t need to worry about the blood supply at this time.

FACT: To ensure an adequate blood supply healthy, eligible donors must donate blood so that an adequate blood supply can be maintained at all times. We strongly encourage all healthy donors and sponsors of blood drives to schedule appointments and keep commitments to donate blood. 

Blood has a short shelf life and must be continually replenished. Blood donors must be healthy, feeling well and free of respiratory illness symptoms to be eligible to donate. 

MYTH: The Blood Center is not screening for the coronavirus.

FACT: Routine blood donor screening measures that are already in place prevents individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. We exclude potential donors with flu by expecting that they feel healthy and well, they have a normal temperature, they are not short of breath, or coughing productively. The same measures apply to those with coronavirus disease.

We ask anyone who does not feel healthy and well to wait until they have fully recovered to donate blood.

AABB, FDA and CDC are not recommending any action by blood collection establishments at this time because there are no data or precedent suggesting risk of transfusion transmission for COVID-19.

MYTH: Coronavirus can be spread by transfusion.

FACT: According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19.

This is not the first time we’ve seen the spread of a strain of the coronavirus disease. No cases of transfusion-transmission were ever reported for the other two coronaviruses (SARS and MERS-CoV) that emerged during the past two decades.

AABB, FDA and CDC are not recommending any action by blood collection establishments at this time because there are no data or precedent suggesting risk of transfusion transmission for COVID-19.

 

Schedule your donation today

 

If you are feeling healthy and well but still have questions about donating, please contact our Donor Advocates at cs@giveblood.org or (713) 791-6608.

You’re not donating blood — you’re giving more time, more smiles and more hugs. You’re giving life. 

Do you follow us on social media? Find us @commitforlife and show support by sharing your donation story using #CommitForLife.  

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Blood Center News
Donors recovered from COVID-19 are helping others

The response from people who have overcome COVID-19 to Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s call for convalescent plasma has been amazing. We’ve seen a number of donors step up to help patients fighting the disease in local hospitals, and it’s beautiful to see our community come together for such an important reason.  

How to prepare for your next blood donation

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is open by appointment only right now, and we want to make sure you’re in tip-top shape to give when you come in to see us. Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help you save lives, so take advantage of these tips before your next opportunity to give blood.  

‘Superhero medicine’ and blood donors help save Owen’s life

Sarah was celebrating her son’s fourth birthday in 2018 when she had to excuse herself. While she had the video camera pointed at her young son’s face, Sarah couldn’t help thinking this birthday might be his last. 

Owen was battling brain cancer for the second time. 

Two years later, birthdays have become extra special at the Langston household. 

Give Texas

This year on Feb. 26, we honor Dr. Reiss and her legacy through the first-ever Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Registry Day, established through the work of State Rep. Gene Wu and passed into law last year.

Blood drives and homemade cookies save lives

The Blood Center depends on the passion of thousands of organizations across the Gulf Coast region to help us save lives. We need 800–1,000 donations a day to serve all of the patients in our community, and we couldn’t do it without businesses, high schools, colleges, churches and a slew of other organizations that work with us.

Give the gift of platelets

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to donate platelets! We have an urgent need for blood and platelet donations during the holidays, and blood donation is a great way for blood donors to spread Christmas cheer. 

What type of blood donation works for you?

Whole blood, platelets, red blood cells or plasma — you’ve got options when it comes to saving lives, and each donation has its benefits.

Lone Star Circle of Life

Cole was one of several organ, stem cell and blood donors and recipients honored in the 2019 Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour. Fewer than 12 cyclists are chosen to participate in the biennial event, which lasts about a week. The tour stretched from Tyler to Waco to College Station to Katy to Victoria before ending in Corpus Christi. 

League of Heroes: Heal for Real appeals to gamers

I think it’s safe to say nobody was more psyched than Lance when The Blood Center partnered with Team Liquid for the Heal for Real campaign. Team Liquid is an international esports organization with more a fanbase of more than 7 million people. The campaign is aimed at the gamer community because healers can be a big part of winning attacks.

Elephants need blood, too

At The Blood Center, we're all about saving lives — human or otherwise.  So it was a big deal to hear that we had a small part in helping save the life of a baby elephant named Joy. Joy is an Asian elephant, a species classified as endangered with only an estimated 40,000 left in the world.

What if this is the one that helps cure cancer?

Today I want to introduce you to Anne, a component technician responsible for separating blood into its different components.

 

Be safe, healthy and well

Our blood donors are the best. That’s why we do everything we can to make sure they are safe and comfortable every time they come in to save lives. To truly have the best experience, though, donors should be prepared.

Are You All In?

Some people get starstruck when meeting famous actors, while others want athletes to sign their memorabilia. My coworkers and I get excited when we get to meet real-life superheroes — people give their time because they believe they must help others if given the opportunity.

5 reasons blood donors are the best

The generous spirit of our donors amazes me. There are countless ways to give back to your community, especially in this technological age. Google “ways to give back in the Houston area” and you’ll find long lists of the needs in society. It’s, quite frankly, overwhelming. But you, you’ve waded through all of that information to find the most selfless way to support the people around you.

Why do you give blood?

Twelve students at the Thurgood Marshal School of Law already had signed up to give blood just one hour into their blood drive. It was amazing to see the heart of this high-achieving group taking time out of their studies with just weeks left in the semester to think about others.

Becoming Wonder Woman

I am an unashamed fan of Wonder Woman. Family members reminisced about how I used to wrap a towel around my neck and run around the house singing the “Woman Woman” theme song. (No, that wasn’t a typo. My ability to get song lyrics wrong was apparent even at the young ages of 3 and 4.)

You are powerful

Do you have any idea of the unbelievable power you have?

I was excited last summer to meet Shelley and her daughter, Courtney. The two were full of laughter and fun when Shelley came into our office for a photo shoot. Shelley is one of our long-time dedicated donors. She’s got that kind of giving spirit, and we were thrilled to capture a few photos of her.

Netflix and save lives like a hero: Top 5 movie recommendations

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to help save more lives than ever in 2019. But those automated donations can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Mine, in particular, lean more toward the hour-and-a-half territory. What’s a girl to do? Watch Netflix movies and donate. And because I’m so thankful for your willingness to help us save lives, here are my top five recommendations for January.

Have you given a Holiday Hug?

One of the best parts of the Holiday Hugs tradition is reading the notes our donors write for patients in the hospital over the holidays. It’s not an easy task as each patient has his or her own individual circumstance, so we’re restricted in which cards we tie to each bear. Still, many of our donors are well up to the task.

Every day, someone’s life is being saved.

By Tammie Riley 

I learned something the other day. Every day, someone’s life is being saved. I know that seems obvious, but let that sink in. What may be a normal Thursday for most could be something completely different for someone else. And that’s exactly what happened to donor Gary Gilson. Aug. 16 was one of the most important moments in Gary’s life. Not only did he save lives that day, but someone else saved the life of his loved one, as well.

Hospital tour highlights need

A 3-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed in the middle of the room with monitors attached to her bare chest. She’s awake, but she doesn’t lift her head as we walk into the room. Still, she follows us with her eyes. The only sound we hear from her is a small cough while a nurse comes in to check her stats.

 

The Blood Center teams up with Sickle Cell Association of Houston

Blood transfusion is one treatment used to combat complications from sickle cell disease, a form of anemia most likely to affect people of African descent. Prince and her now 27-year-old daughter, Quannecia McCruse, founded the Sickle Cell Association of Houston years ago to educate and provide resources to the community.

 

Drive and save lives

Penny, a local teacher with some free time over the summer, has helped us kick off our new Volunteer Driver program. Are you interested in joining us in our mission to save lives? Call us at (713) 791-6262 or email volunteering@giveblood.org.

Overcoming fear: Donating blood for the first time

I’m a scaredy-cat. I readily admit it. I hate needles. That’s always been my excuse for why I don’t volunteer for anything with a needle. Flu shot? No way. Vaccines? I still remember the sheer terror I felt from them growing up. 

We are always #HoustonStrong

We never know when the next tragedy will strike, but we have to be ready when it does come. 

Meet Eden

CYPRESS – There is nothing more American than baseball and saving lives. Everyone who participates in The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Home Run for Life competition will get a chance at both through June 30.

 

SuperMax is the hero Houston needs!

Max was born with a genetic disorder (neurofibromatosis type 1) that can cause tumors to grow on his nerve endings, and SuperMax has been his alter ego ever since. 

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center mourns Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush helped save lives in our community, and we celebrate her lifetime of accomplishments. The former First Lady set the bar high in her commitment to helping others.

 

Dr. Charles Drew: A Blood Banking Pioneer

Here at The Blood Center, we pride ourselves on being an organization of diversity. We work together to save and sustain lives, and we each bring a unique perspective when it comes to fulfilling our mission.

Tying the knot and saving lives

Hurricane Harvey destroyed homes, cars and many other things, but one thing it couldn’t destroy is the compassion for others in newlywed couple Gilbert and Stefanie Cruz. Gilbert and Stefanie were set to get married just a few days after Harvey passed, but due the storm’s aftermath they had to alter all of their plans on a moment’s notice.

 

Blood on ambulances helps EMS agencies save more lives

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has partnered with two local agencies providing emergency medical services to help save more lives when time is of the essence, now administering whole blood to patients on the ground.

Donor coaches hit the road sporting new look, features

In the last two years, five of The Blood Center's donor coaches have been refurbished. Find out why this is such an important process.

Circle of Life Bike Tour celebrates life

The Lone Star Circle of Life bike tour visits Texas cities to raise awareness of the need for blood, marrow, organ and tissue donations to honor those impacted by these donation types. This year’s eight-day, 600-mile tour included stops in Houston and College Station.

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Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

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