How Winter Weather Impacts Blood Donations— and How You Can Help

New Brunswick, N.J., December 1, 2022 – Blood donations are needed year-round to save lives, but the winter months are typically marked by busy holiday schedules, inclement weather and seasonal illness like the flu, which makes it difficult for blood donors to make and keep donation appointments. It is encouraged now more than ever to donate blood—which is simple and safe— and usually takes under one hour. By doing so, you will help those who need it the most, especially cancer patients.

blood donation

Jacqueline Manago, RN, Blood and Marrow Transplant Coordinator in the Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapies Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey,  the state’s leading cancer program and only National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, together with RWJBarnabas Health, answers common questions about blood donation.

How can my blood help a cancer patient?
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments used to treat cancer can impact the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells, so those undergoing cancer treatment routinely require blood transfusions, especially in patients whose cancer begins in the bone marrow. This includes blood-related cancers like leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphomas. Patients who are on a daily treatment regimen need their blood type readily available at all times.

The CDC warns about a potentially severe flu season. Will it be safe to donate blood?
Sanitary and disinfection protocols are in place to help protect donors and staff members. For those that have the flu, it is important to wait until you no longer exhibit flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. All blood donors are required to feel healthy on the day of donation.

Can I donate blood if I’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccination does not affect your ability to give blood.

Who is eligible to donate?
To be eligible to donate blood, one must be at least 17 years, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

How should I prepare for blood donation?
Get a good night’s sleep before your donation. Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods before giving blood.

You can donate blood and platelets locally at the RWJUH Blood Donor Room. For information, call 732-235-8100, Ext. 221 or book an appointment online at



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