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17 Jan

Frigid temperatures make blood donation challenging – January 2018

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Donors in warmer areas asked to give blood in coming days and weeks

 San Francisco, CA (January 4, 2018) – As record-breaking, frigid temperatures continue in the Midwest, South and along the East Coast, the number of people able to come out and give blood is significantly impacted. In addition, severe weather conditions have caused blood drive cancellations and donor center closures, and can also lead to more accidents and an increased need for blood. This has put additional pressure on the nation’s blood supply, (especially for type O-negative and platelets), which is already trying to recover from lower donor turnout over the holidays.

People living in warmer climates, however, can help those affected by the deep freeze by giving blood in the coming days and weeks. And they’ll be supporting a nationwide effort to boost donations since January is National Blood Donor Month.

“We are proud to be part of a nationwide network of blood centers,” said Nicole Anderson, Regional Director for Blood Centers of the Pacific. “The benefit of that is when one region is struggling due to events like the hurricanes and wildfires last year and frigid New Year temperatures, blood donors in other areas can support their neighbors through blood donation.”

While all blood and donation types are welcome, there’s a critical need for type O-negative and platelets. O-negative, the universal blood type that’s always in high demand, can be given to patients of any blood type. It is often used for premature infants and trauma patients. Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Their shelf life is very short—only 5 days—while whole blood or red cell donations can last 42 days.

As part of the Blood Systems Blood Services division, Blood Centers of the Pacific is included in a multi-state network of blood centers. This network works in tandem, moving lifesaving donations throughout the system—once local patient needs are met—to help ensure blood is available when and where it’s needed most.

Blood Centers of the Pacific urges both existing and first-time donors of all blood types to visit www.bloodcenters.org or call 888-393-GIVE to schedule an appointment at one of our 6 donor centers or at a mobile blood drive. Donors can save about 20 minutes by completing their Fast Track Health History the day they donate. It’s at www.bloodheroes.com.

The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis. It can take 24 to 36 hours to collect, test, process and distribute blood where it’s needed.

Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.