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Blood type: What do you need to know?

Specific blood types have been proposed as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, but does that mean you need to know your blood type? Does it matter?

Specific blood types have been proposed as a potential risk factor for COVID19 disease, but does that mean you should learn the blood type of each of your family members?

My office has been getting quite a few calls asking for patient blood types, but parents are often surprised to learn that we don’t know them.

In this post I’ll talk about why we don’t always test for blood types and why I don’t think it’s necessary to know your blood type, even during the pandemic.

Blood type basics

A person’s blood type can be A, AB, B, or O.

Each of these types can also have a positive or negative Rh factor.

Testing newborns

When babies are born some are at risk of having a blood type that may react with their mother’s blood type. This risk increases if a mother has type O or Rh negative blood.

If a mother’s blood reacts against the fetus’ blood, it can increase the newborn’s risk of jaundice, so we will check the newborn’s blood type. In my community the only time a baby’s blood type is checked is if there are risk factors for this.

Insurance does not cover the cost of testing if it is not necessary, and in many cases it is not necessary to test a baby’s blood.

When should your blood type be checked?

If you’re going to get a blood transfusion your blood will be tested for type and matched with the donor blood. The hospital will test at the time and will not take your word for it, so knowing in advance is not necessary.

Pregnant women will have their blood typed to determine risks to the fetus.

Blood donors will learn their blood types. We have a need for blood donations – if you really want to know your blood type and are eligible for donating, find a blood donation center near you and schedule a donation!

COVID-19 and blood types

There are now studies suggesting that people with Type O blood who get COVID-19 seem to have less significant illness compared to people with other blood types and people with type A blood have the most significant illness.

This does NOT mean that a person with type O blood is safe from this devastating virus. They can still get very sick and die.

It also does NOT mean that everyone with type A blood will suffer horribly.

You cannot change your blood type.

You can and should continue to be cautious to avoid spreading COVID-19, regardless of your blood type.

In short: don’t count on your blood type protecting you and don’t worry more if you have type A blood.

Everyone should follow the Ws:

  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a mask
  • Watch your distance

My Top 5 COVID19 Questions Answered

I start off a little slow… I’m not in the tech generation, but I do cover blood types here too!

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By DrStuppy

I am a pediatrician and mother of two teens. I have a passion for sharing health related information.

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