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Ohio Blood Centers Say Summer Donors Desperately Needed

In Ohio, the Red Cross provides blood to 142 hospitals. (Alex Juel/Flickr)
In Ohio, the Red Cross provides blood to 142 hospitals. (Alex Juel/Flickr)
August 3, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Health officials are asking Ohioans to consider helping to save a life during the dog days of summer.

There's typically a spike in traumatic injuries during the summer, said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the American Red Cross Blood Services in Columbus, but blood donations drop at the same time. He said hospitals began this summer in Ohio with supplies down about 15 percent, so now there is an emergency need.

"In Ohio, the Red Cross provides blood to 142 hospitals, and the average daily need is about 2,000 pints of blood, every single day of the year," Wilson said. "So, it's a significant need, and right now, not enough people are donating."

He noted that summer blood shortages usually affect those blood types that are needed most, but this year's need is urgent for all blood types. Donors must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old, or 16 with signed parental consent. Some factors, including some medications or international travel, may make a person ineligible to donate blood, but Wilson said it's best to discuss your situation with staff at a blood center. He also had advice for how to prepare for a donation.

"You should get a good night's sleep the night before," he said."Make sure you have a meal before you donate, and drink lots and lots of water. If you do all of three of those things, you should have a quick and easy donation."

Wilson said a blood donation is, quite literally, a gift of life.

"A lot of people don't think about the other end of that process, but typically, within five days of your donation, your blood is being transfused into a patient and helping save their life," he said. So there's not much more you could do with your time that has that kind of value."

It's estimated that every two seconds in the United States, someone is receiving a blood transfusion. Find a blood donation center at redcrossblood.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH