07/10/18 — American Red Cross experiencing blood shortage

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American Red Cross experiencing blood shortage

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 10, 2018 5:50 AM

The American Red Cross is experiencing a critical blood shortage following the July 4 holidays.

"We had a really rough week following Independence Day," said Maya Franklin, external communications manager with Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region of which Wayne County is a part.

"We had more than 550 fewer blood drives held the week of July 4. That's because lots of folks were out celebrating, going to the beach and hanging out with the family, and a lot of people who regularly give during that time frame are making their appointments later."

That put the Red Cross in an emergency shortage of blood. And Red Cross officials are urging all eligible donors to give blood now.

"There is a greater need now because more people are taking trips," Franklin said. "AAA estimated that 46.9 million people traveled between July 3 and 8, and that made them less available to give blood during the holiday week."

She said the Carolinas Blood Services Region saw a huge shortfall of blood donations during that time with 4,200 fewer collections than what was needed during that time. That contributed to an overall shortage nationwide of about 56,000 fewer donations.

"We are urging all eligible donors to give, but we're especially in need of type O blood right now," Franklin said. "Type O negative can be transferred to a patient with any blood type; it's the universal donor."

Donors are urged to schedule an appointment at a blood drive as soon as possible by going to 1-800-RedCross.org or visiting the website at redcrossblood.org. Or you can download the Red Cross blood donor app to make an appointment.

"Donors can also spread the message through their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook," Franklin said. "Or invite a friend to join you in your blood donation experience."

She said it takes about an hour from start to finish to donate blood.

"But you can use the Red Cross blood donor app to complete a rapid pass," Franklin said. "That allows donors to complete their health history questionnaire for the day of the drive before they get there, using their tablet, smartphone or desktop computer. That will shave off about 15 minutes of their total donation time."

She also said the summer is a good time for students to donate at a local blood drive.

One donation can save up to three lives, Franklin said.

"We are in need of both whole blood and platelet donations right now," she said.

To be eligible, a donor must weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 16 years of age, with parental consent, and be in good general health on the day of the donation.

To make sure you have a good donation experience, Franklin offers this advice: "We want to make sure you're hydrated well, so drink lots of water before and after the donation. Eat iron rich foods like spinach. And get a good night's sleep before coming in to donate.

"It's always a challenging time during the summer months for the Red Cross and blood banks to collect blood, and a lot of that is due to summer activities."

Anyone with questions about eligibility based on medications they are taking or travel in other countries can visit redcrossblood.org or call the donor and client support center at 1-866-236-3276.

Here is a listing of blood drives that are coming up in August:

• Aug. 2 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at Rosewood First Baptist Church.

• Aug. 3 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at Stoney Creek Church.

• Aug. 9 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the Wayne County Bar Association at 209 S. William St.

• Aug. 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wayne UNC Health Care.

• Aug. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Red Cross chapter house, 600 N. George St.

• Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Berkeley Mall.

• Aug. 22 from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

• Aug. 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Lowe's Home Improvement store.

• Aug. 28 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Southern Bank and Trust Co. in Mount Olive.