12/30/07 — Red Cross sends out SOS for blood

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Red Cross sends out SOS for blood

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 30, 2007 2:00 AM

Facing a possible blood shortage around the holidays, the American Red Cross is putting out a desperate plea for donors.

The Wayne County chapter is behind in blood collections, along with most of the nation, said Samia Garner, director of development.

She said the time period from Thanksgiving through January is typically a challenging time for collecting blood. That's because people are busy getting ready for the holidays and aren't thinking about giving blood.

That means there are more people on the roads, shopping, going to parties and heading to loved ones' homes for the holidays. It also means more accidents and more need for blood.

"And the donor pool gets hit with colds and the flu that prevent them from giving blood this time of year," Mrs. Garner said. "We realize this is a busy time of year. We get just so wrapped up in Christmas and before you know it, the day is gone and you haven't had time to get to that blood drive."

Just one unit of blood, according to Mrs. Garner, has the potential to save three lives.

"It can ensure that someone has a New Year's Eve or a birthday or that they see spring and summer," she said. "A unit of blood can make that big of a difference."

The Red Cross likes to have a three-day supply of blood on hand. That means the Blood Carolinas Region, of which Wayne County is a part, has to collect 1,600 units of blood daily.

Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.

A day or two before giving blood, a donor should drink plenty of liquids. That doesn't include caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate the body.

Donors who have a cold or the flu should not give blood.

"The reason for that is that so many cancer patients receive blood products," Mrs. Garner said. "We wouldn't dare want to take a risk of passing on any type of cold or other germs to them.

"And it's not only for the person receiving the blood, but also for the person giving the blood. It lowers the blood in their body putting them more at risk for getting sicker."

For information on giving blood, contact the chapter at 735-7201.