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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: Blood Shortages and Antibody Testing

On June 15, 2020 the American Red Cross began testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

An antibody test screens for antibodies in your blood, which are formed when fighting an infection, like COVID-19. An antibody test assesses whether your immune system has responded to the infection, not if the virus is currently present. Positive antibody test results do not confirm infection or immunity; just potential prior exposure to the virus. Donors who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may have the unique opportunity to help patients fighting the disease. Please note the Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness. Individuals who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should not present to donate until they are symptom-free for 14 days and feeling well and healthy.

Blood donations are more necessary than ever during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the number of blood donations dramatically declined due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives. Blood donors are urged to give now to ensure blood products are readily available for patients.The results of your antibody test will be available by logging in to your Blood Donor account or on the blood donor app about 7 to 10 days after your donation. 



Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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