Urgent need for blood, platelet donors

Created: 07/22/2014 7:02 AM WHEC.com

Officials with the American Red Cross say they are facing a looming blood shortage and that means there’s an urgent need for donors of all blood types.

We're told donations through the Red Cross are down approximately eight-percent, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected.

"Hospital patients continue to need lifesaving blood this summer, and they’re relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to give them hope in the days and weeks ahead,” said Kay E. Schwartz, CEO for the Red Cross New York-Penn Blood Services Region. “Please, consider giving the gift of life. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for patients in need – and you never know when it could be your loved one needing blood.”

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

Blood donation facts from the American Red Cross Blood Services:

  • The summer season historically sees a decline in blood donations due to many blood donors vacationing and fewer blood drives being sponsored by schools.
  • The need for blood is constant. It’s the blood that is already on the shelves that helps save lives before, during and after a disaster. 
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Approximately 44,000 units of blood are needed each day across the United States.
  • Local blood donors are needed all year round to ensure the blood supply stays strong.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
  • Only 5 percent of the eligible population donates blood.
  • In New York State, individuals who are at least 17 years of age, 16 with parental permission, meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. Identification is required at the time of donation.

There are four easy steps to donating blood:

  • Registration
  • Private medical history review with trained specialists and mini-physical including blood pressure, temperature, pulse and iron level check
  • Blood donation for approximately 7-10 minutes
  • Rest and enjoy refreshments

For Red Cross eligibility guidelines and appointment scheduling, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

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