Area blood banks are in need of donors
EASTON — The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross are issuing a critical appeal for blood and platelet donors across the country due to significantly low inventory levels.
Currently, all across the nation, blood banks are suffering from a blood shortage. According to a press release issued by AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross, summer is always a challenging time for blood centers to ensure an adequate blood supply.
“People are on vacations and there are a lot of activities and schools are out,” said Michael Waite, director of marketing and community relations at the Blood Bank of Delmarva. “Schools are a large percentage of our blood supply.”
Waite also said it comes down to the fact that they don’t have the same capacity of donors coming through their doors.
All blood types are currently needed, but according to Waite, the blood type that is always most needed is O Negative. Type O Negative is the universal type and in a lot of critical situations in hospitals when there is no time to input the patient’s blood type, the automatic blood they reach for is O Negative. Waite added that one in 15 donors is O Negative.
The blood banks are also in need of platelet donors.
“It seems to be continuing to grow where it has been challenging in the past, but it seems to be more challenging this year and I don’t necessarily understand why,” Waite said. “We are finding a lot more shortages where they have to take inventory from one hospital and transfer it to another if they have an immediate need rather than having all the shelves at all the hospitals full at all times.”
Blood banks also have to be prepared for incidents, such as the June shooting in Orlando, because their main mission is to provide the blood and blood products that the victims need.
A person has to be at least 17 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health to become a blood donor. After arriving at the donor center, the possible donors will be asked a series of questions about their travel, medication and lifestyle to determine anything that could taint the blood supply.
“About 35 percent of the population can donate blood because they are healthy but about less than 10 percent actually give blood,” Waite said.
High school students and other donors 18 years old and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
“Maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply is critical to the nation’s public health and a priority for the medical community,” said Miriam Markowitz, CEO of AABB. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is indispensable and required in the treatment of millions of patients, including individuals with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, patients undergoing organ transplants and trauma victims.”
It is the blood that has already been collected, screened and tested that is used during an emergency. The blood banks are encouraging people to schedule an appointment to save time rather than walking in the door. Appointments can be made online or on the phone.
“There is no more personal gift you will ever give to another human. You are giving them life, this is literally a life saving product,” Waite said.
For more information or to schedule an appointment go to www.aabb.org, www.AmericasBlood.org or call 1-888-872-5663, www. redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-733-2767. Information about the Blood Bank of Delmarva can be found at www.DelmarvaBlood.org or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.