People across the country have been responding to the American Red Cross appeal for blood donations, but bad weather continues to cause blood drives to be canceled while hospitals’ need for blood is going up.
The Red Cross is grateful to the people who are stepping up to donate blood as it seeks to build the blood supply back to where it should be to help patients who need blood.
While the number of people donating at Red Cross blood drives has risen since the January 24 appeal for donors, blood deliveries to hospitals have also gone up. With blood products going out the door almost as fast as donations are coming in, the amount of blood available for patients is still below what it should be.
More than 18,000 expected Red Cross blood donations have gone uncollected due to bad winter weather over the past several weeks – and more winter storms are in the forecast for the week ahead.. The Red Cross urges everyone who is eligible to schedule a time to give blood in the coming days.
You can make an appointment to give blood or platelets by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting www.redcrossblood.org. To be eligible, you must be 17 years of age or older (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when coming to donate.
All blood types are needed, but there is a particular need for people with negative blood types – O-negative, A-negative and B-negative - to give blood now.
Although most people are aware that blood is needed to treat accident victims or patients having surgery, they don’t realize there are many other reasons why a patient may need blood. Burn victims, patients with blood disorders, cancer patients and many others may need blood during their treatment. For instance, someone having open-heart surgery may use red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Cancer patients may need platelets during chemotherapy. Tiny newborn infants may need blood products to help them survive.
If you have never given blood, it’s pretty simple. Allow at least an hour for the entire blood donation process from start to finish. You’ll be given informational handouts to read, mandatory each time someone gives blood.
During a very confidential process, you’ll provide your demographic information and have your temperature and blood pressure taken. The iron level in your blood will be tested to make sure it is safe for you to donate. You’ll answer a series of questions on health and lifestyle issues to protect not only you, but the patient who will receive your blood. After all this is completed, your actual blood donation begins and should take about ten minutes. When you finish giving blood, you’ll receive some light refreshments.
That’s it. In about an hour, you may have helped more than one patient with your Gift of Life. Why more than one patient? Because your blood donation may be processed into red blood cells, plasma and platelets and help different patients fight their way back to good health.
Please make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible. To schedule your donation time, or get more information on donating blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.