Have you ever turned to Google for help before a donation? Say, to find out how you could bulk up on iron, or to find out if your newfound cold would be cause for deferral? Or perhaps you asked Google a few questions before you made an appointment, to see if blood donation was right for you — whether it’s really effective, how much it hurts (which can be a daunting fear the first time), whether you’d feel tired after?
Whether you’ve directly contributed to Google’s database of questions or not, the truth is, blood donation is a very commonly searched topic. To help shed light on some of the most common inquiries and misconceptions around blood donation, we sat down with some of our SBC experts and asked them some of the most popular questions on the Internet about blood donation, as determined by the phrases Google uses to autocomplete the start to blood donation questions. For five weeks, we’re sharing answers to the top Googled questions in a few categories: “Can I donate blood…?”; “Does blood donation…?”; “How does blood donation…?”; “Are blood donations…?”; and “Do blood transfusions…?”
This week, we’re covering the most commonly Googled questions beginning with “Are blood donations,” as answered by SBC’s Medical Director, Dr. Suchi Pandey! All the questions we’ll be answering are in this article’s header image so feel free to browse for the ones you’re especially anxious to know down below, or test your knowledge against our expert!
Are blood donations tested for COVID?
No. At SBC, we did test donations for presence of the virus (which was not the same as diagnostic testing) at the beginning of the pandemic when we weren’t yet sure if the virus could be passed through transfusion. But, since there have not been any cases of transfusion transmission to date, and because respiratory viruses are generally not known to spread through transfusion, we no longer perform this testing so as to preserve our resources for more critical needs during the pandemic.
Are blood donations tax deductible?
While your donation is invaluable to patients, unfortunately, its value does not translate to any sort of tax deduction at this time — though this is being considered in the California legislature.
Are blood donations tested?
Absolutely! All blood being transfused to patients is tested for a number of viruses/diseases that may harm the patient, including hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis. A full list of what we test for can be found here.
Are blood donations needed?
Yes! Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood. The need really is constant and, because blood cannot be manufactured, the safety of our community depends on regular donations from generous donors. Not only do your donations help patients in immediate need, but also they help us prepare for any sort of disaster that could befall the community and require lots of blood on very short notice.
Are blood donations needed right now?
Blood donations are needed constantly. You can find out which types of blood we are most in need of by checking the “today’s blood need” box on our home page, which is updated daily, Monday through Friday.
Are blood donations low?
While there are definitely highs and lows throughout any week, month and year, generally speaking, the pandemic has significantly impacted blood centers’ ability to collect blood. Because many individuals are telecommuting, blood drives hosted at workplaces, which used to be a huge part of our donations, are less successful, meaning a decreased supply. At the same time, more individuals are staying home and, at times, unable to donate due to illness. Now is a great time to donate and keep donating!
Are blood donations tested for hep C (hepatitis C)?
They are indeed.
Are blood donations tested for COVID antibodies?
While SBC did test donations for COVID antibodies during a particular period, this was primarily offered as a service to our community when antibody testing was less widely available, and to help us identify individuals who may be good candidates for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP). Now that it is fairly easy for anyone to secure antibody testing elsewhere, we have stopped testing all donation for antibodies in favor of using our limited resources for other projects.
Are blood donations tested for STDs?
While blood donations are tested for HIV and syphilis due to their potential harm to patients, generally speaking, no. To receive comprehensive STD testing, you should consult your primary physician. Individuals should never donate blood as a way of receiving an HIV or syphilis test.