August 1, 2014 – An urgent need for blood and platelets remains, even as several thousand blood donors answered the urgent call to donate issued by the American Red Cross last week. Donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative are especially needed right now.
Since the urgent request began, the Red Cross has seen an increase of approximately 9 percent in the number of donors coming to give blood, resulting in more than 10,400 additional units from what was expected. While the Red Cross is grateful for those who stepped up to give this lifesaving gift, hospital patients are still counting on generous donors to roll up a sleeve and help prevent an emergency shortage.
Employees can do their part to help prevent an emergency situation. Talking points to help guide conversations with Red Cross donors, blood drive sponsors or other members of the public are provided on The Exchange. An online advocacy guide and infographic are also available for use through social media channels.
Donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 8 percent from the beginning of May through mid-July, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than anticipated. Right now, blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in.
On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives in an emergency — such as the deadly tornado that hit Virginia Beach last week. As a national network, the Red Cross was able to send 45 units of blood and platelets to help patients in area hospitals.
July marks the halfway point in the challenging summer months. While many donors are still enjoying summer activities, patients are unable to take a vacation from needing lifesaving blood. In fact, the need for blood is constant, and every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion. Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may now be eligible to donate again and help patients such as accident victims, heart surgery patients, children with blood disorders and others.
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and individuals can give platelets every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.