Emergency call issued for blood

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, August 9, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The American Red Cross Blood Services in Michigan issued an emergency call for blood donations.
Statewide blood inventory levels plunged below an adequate supply for Type O blood earlier this month, which means a huge demand for blood is in store.
Blood donations are especially lower during the summer months, Angela LaVanway, Director of the American Red Cross Niles location said Wednesday. "People are out of their general routines in the summer. They take more vacations and travel and most of the time they will miss a blood drive because they are gone."
LanVanway also added that more car accidents occur during the warmer months and that people don't take care of themselves as well as they should.
"If someone comes in to donate blood, a lot of times they are dehydrated or their iron is low and it makes things very difficult. If we have really hot temperatures a few days in a row it's not a big issue, but when you go two weeks like what we've seen, it makes getting blood a lot harder," LanVanway said.
She stated that people need to think about things like this, especially if they plan to donate.
"It's really pretty simple. Just don't overdo it. I am surprised to see so many people out riding bikes, running and mowing their lawns at 4 or 5 o'clock. You need to do those things before it gets dark or early in the morning," she added.
The American Red Cross will be holding a few different blood drives, one which is being held today until 5:45 p.m. at the Buchanan Senior Center. On Wednesday, Aug. 15, one will take place at the Niles Fire Department and on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at Michiana Christian Embassy. Both will take place from noon to 5:45 p.m.
"We desperately need people to come and donate blood," Sharon Jaksa, CEO of the Great Lakes Region Blood Services, which serves 65 counties in Michigan, said. "Our supplies of Type O blood are extremely low. That can create a precarious situation for patients needing emergency and ongoing medial care, since Type O is the blood most demanded by hospitals."
The American Red Cross needs to collect nearly 1,600 blood donations each day to maintain the blood supply for patients in 127 Michigan hospitals. The Red Cross reports just 90 units of O-negative blood available statewide. A minimum of about 200 units of O-negative is necessary to treat the state's hospital patients every day.
"Right now, we're able to fill requests for hospital patients, but if donations don't pick up or continue to decline, we might not be able to meet the need for blood," she added.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health. For more information about additional blood drives or for further questions, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or visit www.givelife.org.