DOCTORS are urging people to still give blood following the coronavirus lockdown as donations drop by 15 per cent.
Despite the lockdown, giving blood is classed as a "medical need", meaning people are allowed to leave their house to donate.
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Anyone with an appointment is urged not to cancel it, with new safety measures also being brought into place during the pandemic.
This includes regular handwashing, wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm with an aseptic cleanser.
While stock currently remain at a good level, staff fear of a drop in donations due to confusion about whether people are allowed out of their house.
NHS Blood and Transplant told the BBC that their call centre had seen an increase of 30 daily calls to 500 daily calls, asking if the donation sessions were cancelled or not.
The UK government currently advise the British public to stay indoors unless essential, which includes one form of outdoor exercise a day, as well as visiting shops for medicine and food.
It also allows travel to and from work if a key worker, and any visits for medical purposes – which includes blood donation.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: "People can still donate blood. Giving blood is classed as a medical need and a form of helping vulnerable people.
"It is essential to patients and the NHS. If you are fit and well, please keep donating as normal."
Doctors have also urged patients that coronavirus cannot be passed through the blood, so the risk of catching it is extremely low.
Anyone who has coronavirus or has symptoms of coronavirus such as a fever or persistent cough are advised to stay away to avoid infecting anyone else.
If you have had coronavirus, you must wait for 14 days from when your symptoms settled.
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The American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers announced last week that the US is facing a “severe blood shortage.”
A spokesperson said they were experiencing an "unprecedented" amount of cancellations.
Similar problems are being faced across Europe, including in Germany and Spain.
Am I allowed to give blood?
You can give blood if you:
- are fit and healthy
- weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and 25 stone (158kg)
- are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
- are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years
You cannot give blood if you:
- have had a tattoo or piercing in the last for months
- are pregnant
- have had complications caused by diabetes
Men can give blood every 12 weeks, while women can give blood every 16 weeks.
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