March 14, 2016 (Cornwall, ONT) – Schools across the country are beginning to take their March breaks this month, and many Canadians are travelling to tropical climates. As some travel plans can temporarily affect the ability of blood donors to donate, patients need new and current donors to book an appointment and give before they go. People with the flu are also asked to please re-book as soon as they can. Travel, extreme weather and flu symptoms make maintaining a strong blood supply for all Canadians more difficult during winter months.
“We encourage donors to visit our website, blood.ca, to learn how travel to locations that will increase the risk of coming into contact with diseases, such as the Zika virus or malaria, may affect their eligibility,” says Tracy Smith, regional director of donor relations in Manitoba, Northeastern Ontario and Nunavut. “They can also learn how various vaccinations might affect their eligibility to donate blood.
“New donation rules to protect the blood supply from the Zika virus are already reducing the number of eligible donors,” she says. “We’re concerned that travel plans and the flu may mean fewer and fewer donors are eligible to donate blood.”
Blood donors who have travelled to locations outside of Canada, the continental United States and Europe are temporarily ineligible to give blood for 21 days after their return to Canada to mitigate the risk of the Zika virus entering the blood supply. “We encourage donors who have been temporarily deferred from donating due to travel to book an appointment to donate when their ineligibility period has passed.
“Donated blood is needed to save lives every day. During the travel season, we count on donors to ensure an ample and safe supply of blood and blood products for those in need,” says Smith.
“That’s why donating before you travel is a great option. Also, if yo
u have never donated before and have not travelled, it’s important to step up and fill the chair of someone who has been supporting Canada’s blood system. We all have to do our part to help ensure there is a continuous blood supply.” New donors are critical to ensuring patients continue to receive the safe and effective blood and blood products they need.
To discover all the ways you can help save a life and to book an appointment, download the GiveBlood app or visitblood.ca.
About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). We operate an integrated, pan-Canadian service delivery model that includes leading an interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation. Our national scope, infrastructure and governance make us unique in the Canadian healthcare landscape. Canadian Blood Services is regulated as a biologics manufacturer by Health Canada and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health. Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization.
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