US attacked; what can you do to help?

| Wednesday, September 12, 2001

In an effort to aid those injured Tuesday morning in the attacks on American soil, truckdrivers can help those in need by giving blood at local donor facilities throughout the nation.

More than 50,000 blood donations in the American Red Cross blood inventory are being shipped to affected areas. In addition, thousands of people have been showing up at blood centers across the nation since the events began to unfold. Still, the Red Cross has put out a plea for more blood donors.

The Red Cross has activated its Aviation Incident Response (AIR) Team to respond to New York City, and trained disaster workers from the American Red Cross of Greater New York and the national Capitol Chapter in Washington, DC, are providing relief in the affected areas. The American Red Cross also is providing crisis mental health counseling in the affected areas.

What happens when you donate blood?

1.. Before donating blood, you should eat a good meal.
2.. When you arrive, you will register and complete a health questionnaire.
3.. A screener will conduct a brief interview with you to ensure you are in
good health and meet all health requirements.
4.. You will be given a brief physical examination, including blood
pressure, pulse, temperature and a test for low blood iron.
5.. If the prescribed medical conditions are met, a unit of blood will be
collected.
6.. Afterwards, donors are served refreshments while remaining seated for
at least 10 minutes.
7.. The entire process usually takes less than an hour.

Who can and cannot give blood and what are the criteria for giving blood?
In general donors must:

a. be in good general health
b. be at least 18, or 17 with written parental consent
c. weigh at least 110 pounds
d. have not had a tattoo/body piercing or traveled a malarial area during
non-daylight hours in the last 12 months
e. pass a health and life-style screening

A person wanting to give blood can safely do so no more than four times a year. The recommended gap between donations is every four months. The break between the donations should be from eight weeks to six months.

There are tests done on all donated blood. Every pint of donated blood is tested for evidence of infection of several diseases known to be transmitted through transfusions. These include but are not limited to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis and HTLV-I. Any unit with a positive test result is discarded and not used for transfusion.

The following questions will help those wishing to quickly know if they may donate or are excluded:

I recently underwent oral surgery with medication?
A: Wait at least 72 hours after the procedure.

What if one has undergone major surgery is past?
A: One can donate after complete healing of uncomplicated surgery.

Can I donate if I have had an alcoholic drink?
A: Yes, you can after 24 hours of your last drink.

I had major accident in the recent past, can I donate blood?
A: Yes, after six months of your major accident.

I had minor accident can I donate blood ?
A: Yes, After a month.

Can I give blood donation if I'm breast feeding a child?
A: Yes, you can donate. Lactation is not disqualifying for blood donation.

Can I donate blood even if I am menstruating?
A: Yes you can.

I underwent an abortion can I donate blood?
A: Yes, six months after the abortion.

I have a problem with allergies, can I donate blood?
A: Yes, if you are symptom free.

I am taking aspirin can I donate blood?
A: Yes, after three days of your last intake.

I am an asthmatic can I donate blood?
A: Yes, safely, after your acute attack subsides.

I had a blood transfusion can I donate blood?
A: You can donate blood six months after the transfusion?

What if I have been recently vaccinated?
A: Vaccinations with killed viruses like tetanus toxoid are not disqualifying for blood donation. Specific deferral period is required for persons vaccinated with live or attenuated virus vaccines and vaccination because of known disease exposure.

I had tuberculosis in past can I donate blood?
A: You can donate blood 12 months after the complete treatment.

Risk factors that prevent a person from giving blood are as follows.

I have extremely high blood pressure, can I give blood?
A. Persons with high blood pressure are excluded from giving blood until their pressure is regulated.

I have a genital disease like syphilis, gonorrhea?
A: You are temporarily disqualified for a period of 12 months. However the association of hepatitis B & AIDS & other STD requires precaution.

Who are individuals whose risk factors require exclusion from blood donation?
A: Males who had sex with other males, male and female prostitutes, males also have used prostitutes, females who have used to male prostitutes, intravenous drug abusers, people with blood disorders like hemophilia or thalessemia, sexual partners of any of the above.

Can I donate blood if I have cold with cough or flu?
A: Temporary deferral is required.

OOIDA anticipates there also will be a need for truckers and trucks to carry emergency supplies. If you would like to volunteer to help, please contact OOIDA at 1-800-444-5791 and provide your name, address and telephone number. The association will keep a list of volunteers to call upon if any situation arises in which assistance is needed. The Red Cross suggests you call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) to find a location near you or to make an appointment.

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