With school no longer in session, summer is the time of the year when most families not only take vacations, but participate in other recreational activities, as well. For blood banks, however, summer is the time of the year that blood donations dip and, at times, because of this dip, there is a blood shortage.
The University of Alabama, UAB, is having a blood drive to replenish any shortage that might occur over the summer months when blood donations decrease. UAB spokesman Bob Shephard said that “ a good amount collected during the week-long blood drive, can help through the next several weeks while summer disruptions are occurring.”
This time of year brings not only vacations, but also increases in driving and outdoor activities that can lead to accidents and injury that might result in people needing a blood transfusion.
Last year in September, UAB cancelled some surgeries because of a shortage of blood donations and a high number of trauma cases. Although Shephard stated that there is no critical shortage right now, donations are always needed to shore up the supply of all blood types. Last week, the American Red Cross issued an urgent national appeal for blood donations following the storms along the East Coast of our nation. June blood donations were 50,000 less than expected, according to the Red Cross statistics. Chris Osborne, the agency’s regional communication officer for the Alabama region, said because of the appeal, there has been a twenty percent increase in donations.
Osborne added that “every two seconds a patient in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion,” and also said that because blood is a perishable product that has a shelf life of 42 days for red blood cells and only five days for platelets, “the supplies must be replenished constantly.”
Those who are interested in donating blood, can call 1-800-733-2767, or visit redcrossblood.org.