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Old 03-12-2020, 04:19 PM
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Coronavirus Having a Negative Impact on Blood Donations


If you can, I urge you to donate blood. We don't need a nationwide blood shortage on top of everything else.

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Old 03-13-2020, 07:41 PM
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I want to second that. And as a little bit of encouragement: Everyone's temperature is checked as a regular part of the procedure, and they ask specifics on any travel you've done lately, so you will not be sitting there surrounded by people stewing in the the virus.

Also, if you're feeling down and need some kindliness in your life - donate blood. Everyone there is grateful you're there and will pamper you in every way they can, you get free juice and cookies and sometimes a gift. I used to give platelets at a private facility and they gave away t-shirts and store gift cards. I now give at a Red Cross facility and I get a free candy bar each time (along with the juice, snacks and cookies).

Lately, I've been giving platelets. It takes about two hours each time, but you can give once a week, rather than once every eight weeks with whole blood. Platelets don't depend on blood type, and since I have a middling common blood type platelets are more useful. As they keep telling me, cancer patients rely on platelet donations.

Don't donate blood to get tested for the virus, because not all blood centers are testing for it. There is no evidence this virus is blood borne and there are other, more important things to test for.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:02 PM
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Thank you. Well said.
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Old 03-14-2020, 12:01 AM
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Giving blood is ridiculously uplifting. It’s easy and gets easier the more you do it and get familiar with the process. I go to a drive every 56 days at the same place. Use the app to sign up. Drink plenty of water the day before. Do my RapidPass the day of. Take iron pills to make sure I’m never low. Free blood pressure screening. I know how to tell the phlebotomists how to hit my vein. I’m a fast bleeder. Free cookies. Cool bandage. Feel awesome for 56 days!

You probably think you can’t give blood because of whatever and you’re probably wrong (fear of needles and being gay do still preclude you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.) they want and need your blood.

Give life!
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:05 AM
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If you live outside an outbreak zone even better! For Washington State, then need blood but don't want people filling up hospitals in the Seattle area. That said, they are eager for blood donors everywhere else.
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:23 AM
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A blood bank official here said that high school students provide 25% of our blood supply. She thinks with schools closed, that number will probably go down. Something to think about next time you may want to criticize "kids today."
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:24 AM
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Is donating blood safe? I mean there is any risk of spreading corona?
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:45 AM
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Old 03-14-2020, 10:53 AM
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No risk. The virus is not bloodborne and you must be healthy to donate. The blooomobiles and branches are cleaned often and the staff is highly trained.
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Old 03-14-2020, 11:22 AM
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I donate frequently. I did in January and will again next week
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:35 PM
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Giving platelets today. I used to do it regularly, but life and kids got in the way. This seems like a good time to restart the habit.
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Old 03-14-2020, 01:40 PM
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Yes, please donate blood for those of us who can't. I have AFib and am on blood thinners now, so am banned, but I donated for 40 years.
As I've said before, donating blood may have saved my life, since I found out about my problem when I was rejected from giving blood due to a racy pulse.
It always made me feel good also.
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:51 PM
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Over the years I have given blood, when reminded of the need, maybe twice or three times a year. Lately, inspired by the man in the link, I've given regular donations every eight weeks. I don't have special blood, like he did, but we have one thing in common, neither of us has ever looked at the needle in our arms.

Read the story: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/11/healt...rnd/index.html
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:16 AM
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Word is getting out...we had a good turnout at our blood drive yesterday. I appreciate everyone who donates and if you can't, please encourage your friends and family.

You can donate if you have diabetes. I had a man yesterday who didn't donate for two years because he had heart palpitations but he was able to donate. A couple a weeks ago I had a man who had hepatitis years ago but due to the new medications on the market he was able to donate.

Studies have shown donating blood can be beneficial to those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I've noticed my cholesterol level has been steadily dropping since I started donating regularly again.

For men and post menopausal women, it keeps your iron levels from getting too high. High iron levels can lead to stroke. We have men doing therapeutic donations. Their iron is so high we can't use it, so they have to PAY us to take their blood and throw it away.

Of all the medications on the market, only about 10% would defer you from donating blood. Plus the wellness check can give you a heads up on medical issues you may not know you have, like Voyager.
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Old 03-15-2020, 05:55 PM
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Is donating blood safe? I mean there is any risk of spreading corona?
Donating blood itself is safe; everything that is used on the donor is sterile.

One is not typically that close to too many people in a traveling donor site, like what you'd attend at a religious institution, firehouse, school or work/office. I'm guessing they're spreading out even more now. That being said, the whole point of distancing is to keep yourself away from other people to prevent any possible spread & attending has some elevated risk vs. staying in your house though less than being in a mosh pit.


I was supposed to donate next week. I will not be donating there as we are on total lockdown in this county for at least two weeks; all schools, religious institutions, entertainment facilities, gyms, restaurants (take-out or delivery only, no dining in), malls & other non-essential retail are supposed to be closed.
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Old 03-16-2020, 05:21 PM
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The news is getting out. We are definitely seeing an uptick in blood donations.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:27 PM
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I'm glad to hear that. I can't donate again until the latest eight week period is up.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:49 AM
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I donated yesterday, and it took longer than usual because they got lots more sign ups than usual.

And they take your temperature before you are even allowed in the bloodmobile. And they swab the couches every time, along with the usual precautions. I am probably safer in there than I am at work. Plus, free cookies.

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Old 03-17-2020, 01:29 PM
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Sorry Iím banned for life.
Me, too. I came up with Hep B antibodies. Don't know what happened or when, but my name is on the List. Suits me.

ETA: I've given blood for tests many times since with no mention. I'm betting it was a false positive.

Last edited by dropzone; 03-17-2020 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 02:34 PM
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Me, too. I came up with Hep B antibodies. Don't know what happened or when, but my name is on the List. Suits me.

ETA: I've given blood for tests many times since with no mention. I'm betting it was a false positive.
I was stationed in Europe in the 80s. I got the Mad Cow. I guess everybody from Europe in the 80s is screwed.
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Old 03-17-2020, 03:10 PM
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Those are the FDA rules.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:00 PM
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Those are the FDA rules.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:50 PM
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I was in Costa Rica, and that caused a six month deferment, even though I was vaccinated for typhoid. I guess there are lots of things you could get in Costa Rica, but they should have shown symptoms after six months, or you're good. I totally forgot about donating, and this thread reminded me.

I am a serious donor: this is what I did on my 17th birthday, and I got as many friends over 17 to go with me as possible, and a few family too. They made kind of a fuss over me, when they realized I came on my first day of eligibility. I've never forgotten it.

Eventually, I got a gallon pin.

At one point, I came up anemic, but I finally got it corrected with iron supplements (TMI ALERT: it probably had to do with my very mild IBS), so I had a little gap in donations then, but I'm OK now.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:52 PM
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I was stationed in Europe in the 80s. I got the Mad Cow. I guess everybody from Europe in the 80s is screwed.
Not everyone. I was in Europe in 85, including briefly in the UK (2 weeks), but I'm not deferred.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:42 PM
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It depends how long you were there.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:14 PM
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The Bloodmobile is coming to my work on Thursday and I am keeping my appointment. I just got an email to let me know that it's more critical now than ever.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:20 PM
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Donating blood itself is safe; everything that is used on the donor is sterile.

One is not typically that close to too many people in a traveling donor site, like what you'd attend at a religious institution, firehouse, school or work/office. I'm guessing they're spreading out even more now. That being said, the whole point of distancing is to keep yourself away from other people to prevent any possible spread & attending has some elevated risk vs. staying in your house though less than being in a mosh pit.


I was supposed to donate next week. I will not be donating there as we are on total lockdown in this county for at least two weeks; all schools, religious institutions, entertainment facilities, gyms, restaurants (take-out or delivery only, no dining in), malls & other non-essential retail are supposed to be closed.
I would consider driving to a place where you're going to do blood donation to be essential travel.

I'd consider it myself, but many years ago, I blacked out mid-donation and they told me not to do it again.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 03-17-2020 at 10:20 PM.
  #28  
Old 03-18-2020, 11:41 AM
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I'd consider it myself, but many years ago, I blacked out mid-donation and they told me not to do it again.
Did your doctor tell you? Passing out is not unheard of. If you tell the donor staff what happened they can take extra precautions. It is important that you eat a good meal BEFORE you donate. I've had high school students think a piece of toast is a good breakfast.

If you feel comfortable, please try again.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:24 PM
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Sorry Iím banned for life.
Ditto.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:53 PM
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I blacked out once trying to donate in high school. I was too scared to try again for over 15 years. Then someone told me that the people running the blood drives in high school gyms aren't always the most skilled, and that I should consider trying a brick-and-mortar center with a good reputation, and tell them about my experience when asking for their best person. I did all that, and since then I've successfully donated almost a gallon of blood with no issues whatsoever. Anyone who wants to donate but is afraid should think about giving it another shot.

I called my usual place (UCLA) on Monday and got a same-day appointment to donate. But then my husband, who had just returned from Mexico, started feeling ill, and I canceled out of an abundance of caution. But his mild symptoms quickly subsided, and after a telephonic appointment with the doctor indicated he was probably fine (and after 4 days passed without me developing any symptoms), I called again today. They've had a tremendous response in the last few days; now the earliest appointment they could offer was Monday, March 30! Part of that is due to limited staff and social distancing protocols, of course, but part of it is that people are coming together and showing up where we need them. It gives me hope. (And yes, I still made an appointment for myself!)
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:52 PM
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Glad to see you back! We do high school drives all the time and our staff is highly trained. Things and protocols have changed in 15 years.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:51 AM
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Because my state (Pennsylvania) is one of eleven states where tattoo shops are not state regulated, I'm not eligible to give for twelve months after getting inked, so I haven't given in a long time.
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:19 AM
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I just signed up for an appointment at my local blood center.

I'm just happy to have a great excuse to get out of the house.
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Old 03-21-2020, 12:19 PM
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Also banned for life many years ago. Sad as I liked to give. False positive on something it would have been impossible for me to get IRL.
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Old 03-21-2020, 12:54 PM
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Glad to see you back! We do high school drives all the time and our staff is highly trained. Things and protocols have changed in 15 years.
That's interesting. What's changed in 15 years? I know that for blood tests the needles have gotten smaller, but the needles they use to collect blood are still pretty big. I mostly look away.
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:32 PM
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Lots of things. Diabetics can donate. There's no more finger stick to check your iron. It's a cute little thing that fits over your thumb like a blood pressure cuff and squeezes. You get a thumb massage! If you got your tattoo/body piercing from a licensed artist and it's healed, you don't have to wait a year.

The needle has to be a 16 gauge for two reasons. One, it keeps from damaging the red blood cells and two, we have to collect the whole blood within 20 minutes per the FDA regs. Anything smaller would mean a slower flow.

I don't watch either. But a little pinch and it's done.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:23 PM
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We still have the finger stick in my area and you have to wait six months after getting inked. Rules are different everywhere.
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Old 03-21-2020, 05:46 PM
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UCLA, where I donate, still does the finger stick too. It's not really a problem. I didn't faint from that in high school; I made it to the blood draw itself.

I'm OK with needles generally, but I've definitely noticed a wide variation of experiences I can have that seem to correspond with the skill of the person poking me. For years I was on Accutane and had to get monthly blood tests. There was one woman I started asking for by name because she could put the needle in almost without me even feeling it. When she wasn't working and I got someone else from the same lab, it could be quite painful. Once I got dizzy and had to lie down for several minutes.

When I tell the nice folks at UCLA that I'm a hard stick, they often grab someone else to help me, rather than just the next person available. So I have to think they believe that skill matters too. The fact that they go to that trouble to ensure I always have a good experience is what keeps me coming back.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:25 PM
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We still have the finger stick in my area and you have to wait six months after getting inked. Rules are different everywhere.
If your state licenses tattoo artists you don't have to wait. All blood banks in the US follow FDA guidelines.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:29 PM
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If your state licenses tattoo artists you don't have to wait. All blood banks in the US follow FDA guidelines.
And may have additional guidelines. I can tell you for certain that I had a finger stick on Thursday.
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:24 PM
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I want to donate blood Monday. I do see a Red Cross Donation Center relatively near me. Can I just show up during business hours and give?

I have a donor ID already, but I can't get my online account to login no matter what I try.
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:26 PM
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I want to donate blood Monday. I do see a Red Cross Donation Center relatively near me. Can I just show up during business hours and give?

I have a donor ID already, but I can't get my online account to login no matter what I try.

I haven't been ill and have nothing in my history to prevent me from giving. I have given before.
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:57 PM
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I would call ahead. Even if they normally take walk-ins, they probably don't want a bunch of people sitting together in the waiting room right now.
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:58 PM
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I would get there as close to the time they open as you can. You should just need your ID. Everything else they can look up.
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:26 AM
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I've been donating just about as often as I'm allowed to, for many years, except that I often have extended illness that prevents it. I make whole blood donations, double red cell donations, and some third kind, plasma or something (I forget). I always enjoy it. At this point in life, donating blood is the only way I get to lie there for a little while and get treated like royalty. Besides, having medical orders to "eat heartily at your next meal" is kind of a thrill.

But I'm afraid. I'm 63 with chronic respiratory disease, and hypertension, and I'm male, making four high covid-19 risk factors. I wouldn't dare go to a public place with a dozen or more other people there, especially in a town with active cases. Besides, I'm constantly coughing, which would probably scare the bejesus out of everybody else, and for all I know induce the blood bank to toss my donation anyway.

FWIW I don't have the least worry that there is something about blood donation per se that is risky. I know I'm not going to get it from the needles. Social contact is absolutely my only worry.

If one isolated person would do me in the middle of a parking lot or field, I'd go for it. How close to that can I get?
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:23 AM
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Napier, I would say do what is best for you. You can do other things to help, such as spread the word about the need for blood donations. You are in a higher risk category so I would encourage you to keep yourself safe. You can come back when this is over. I promise you, there will be a donor bed with your name on it.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:54 PM
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Napier, I would say do what is best for you. You can do other things to help, such as spread the word about the need for blood donations. You are in a higher risk category so I would encourage you to keep yourself safe. You can come back when this is over. I promise you, there will be a donor bed with your name on it.
Thanks ivy lass. There has always been a donor bed with my name on it before. I believe there will always be one in future. And I will keep donating for certain! Just let me wait until it's safe for people like me....
  #48  
Old 03-22-2020, 05:48 PM
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I'm donating this coming Friday, which was the earliest appointment I could get. They've taken steps to maintain the appropriate distances between donors and employees so they can handle a lot fewer donations per day than they used to be able to do. I'm over sixty-five, but I'm in pretty good shape overall and not too concerned. I like to let my immune system know who it's working for.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:09 PM
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I would call ahead. Even if they normally take walk-ins, they probably don't want a bunch of people sitting together in the waiting room right now.
I have done so and am giving blood Wednesday afternoon.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:11 PM
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I'm curious about the facts around whole blood versus platelet donation, so I started a new thread to avoid hijacking this.
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