Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling for 14,000 Aussies to roll up their sleeves and donate blood (if they are able to) in the next few weeks, as the double whammy of bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic threaten supplies.

At the start of 2020, when the bushfire crisis was in full swing, there was a huge response from people willing to donate blood and plasma. The problem is that those people now have to wait 12 weeks before they can donate again, meaning there are fewer people who can donate now.

On top of that, the regular cold and flu season is coming up (meaning people cannot donate), and the nation’s blood supplies are under pressure thanks to – what else? – the outbreak of coronavirus.

“Last minute cancellations are also putting a dent in blood stocks at a time when donors are in urgent need,” Lifeblood Chief Executive Shelly Park said.

“As we all know, there is no substitute for blood. It is a critical resource, and right now, we need more people booking appointments to donate.

“Blood is needed every day by Australian patients including road trauma patients, surgical patients, medical and orthopaedic patients, pregnant mums and cancer patients.”

Obviously it’s a bit of an uncertain time, with everybody socially distancing as much as possible to help “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). To that end, Lifeblood is assuring people it does not allow people who are unwell to donate blood, has robust measures in place to ensure that sick people aren’t donating blood without realising they’re sick, and that donor centres are safe places to visit.

There is also no evidence the coronavirus is transmitted via blood – and obviously, if you are in isolation due to contact with coronavirus, you should be listening to *literally all of the advice out there* and not be leaving your house.

About 500,000 Aussies are regular blood donators, but Lifeblood reckons millions are eligible. Criteria to donate blood can be strict, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to donate, it’s an easy way to help save a life.

Right now, there are 14,000 appointments Lifeblood is looking to fill over the next few weeks, which are critical to replenishing stores before the busy Easter period.

You can make an appointment to donate blood here or find out if you’re eligible here.

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