Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter is a Crucial Time for Donating Blood

By Karen Zolka,

A positive, O positive, O negative, AB negative. This isn't part of a chemistry equation--these are different blood types, also known as blood groups.

Blood is of particular interest to the Athens County Chapter of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross is a private, non-profit group that helps people who have been affected by disasters. The Red Cross also collects and maintains blood reserves. Donated blood is used for many medical procedures, including blood transfusions necessary during surgery.

Sandy Shirey is the Executive Director of the Athens County Chapter of the Red Cross. She says it is possible to use all the blood in reserve during one surgery or one emergency.

Sandy Shirey explains how fast blood supplies can be depleted

Blood Supplies
A five day blood supply is ideal for the reserves at the Red Cross Blood Center in Columbus. At the Blood Center, it is possible to store blood for up to 42 days.

The problem is, blood reserves in Columbus are currently classified as "critical." There is only a two day supply of A negative and AB negative blood, and a half day supply of O negative blood.

Levels of the blood shortage

Shirey says that blood donations dwindle in the winter because of high school donation locations closed for snow days, difficulty in traveling and the increase in illness.

Blood Drives
The local Red Cross holds at least one blood drive a year at the five Athens County high schools. Ohio University is also the site of several blood drives every month. Sandy Shirey says that more than half the blood collected in Athens County, nearly 4,000 units last year, comes from Ohio University blood drive locations.

Ohio University campus donations

OU junior, Rebecca Cafferty knows the importance of donating blood and tries to donate often. "It helps save lives. My grandpa needed a lot of blood transfusions. He went through blood like crazy, and there was a shortage in central Ohio."

For every unit (approximately one pint) of blood donated, two to three people benefit by receiving blood or a blood byproduct, such as plasma.

Ohio University Blood Drive Locations
Listed below are February blood drive locations on the Ohio University campus.

-True House
2/13/08, 2:00 to 8:00 p.m.
-Wilson House
2/14/08, 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
-Baker Center
2/14/08, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
-Porter Hall
2/16/08, 10:00 to 4:00 p.m.
-Baker Center
2/18/08, 9:00 to 3:00 p.m.
-Washington Hall
2/21/08, 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
-Baker Center
2/26/08, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
-Ohio Athletics
2/28/08, 2:00 to 8:00 p.m.

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