Certain types at critical levels for Red Cross
by Susan Akers
Blood donations have dropped across the region and for the Union County chapter of the Red Cross, it’s turned critical. The supply of Type O negative blood has dropped to critical levels in the county. Type O negative is considered the “Universal Donor” blood type, because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type without a negative reaction.
“While all blood types are needed during the summer months, the Red Cross urges those eligible donors with O negative blood type to make and keep appointments in the upcoming days to help restore the blood supply” said Sheila Crunkleton, Community Executive of the American Red Cross.
Blood donations tend to drop during the summer months. Fewer donors are giving because of summer vacation travel and schools on summer break aren’t hosting drives. An increase in accidents over the summer months also impacts the supply.
“The American Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to help recruit type O negative blood donations to help meet the needs of patients in our community” said Joyce Brendel, CEO of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Region.
The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood each weekday just to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, blood disorders and other illnesses receive transfusions every day. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Blood transfusions are done with donated blood that is an exact match for type. In an emergency, type O negative red blood cells may be given to anyone, especially if the situation is life-threatening or if there is a short supply of the matching blood type.
“The need for blood is constant and there is no replacement,” Crunkleton said. “We want to always make sure blood is available when needed for everyone.”
Requirements For Donating
Before donating blood, residents have to meet several requirements. Only those 17 and older are allowed, or 16 with parental permission. Donors must also weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.
There is no upper age limit for donation. A person may donate as long as he or she feels well, has no fever or any problems breathing. The potential donor’s blood pressure must be between 80/50 and 180/100 at the time of donation. Donors on high blood pressure medications are acceptable.
A person who has received a blood transfusion must wait twelve months to be eligible to donate., while anyone with a history of leukemia, lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease can’t give. A person with other forms of cancer may be eligible if twelve months have passed since the last treatment, with no recurrences or active disease.
Union County’s Red Cross chapter will hold their annual Go for Blood cycling event and blood drive at Cane Creek Park August 6. Anyone can register for the 35 mile or 65 mile cycling event at www.unioncountyredcross.org.