Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Athens Suffers Blood Shortage

By:Annie Porembski

Trauma Season has begun. The American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Region said that Memorial Day weekend marks the start of trauma season and there is a high need for blood donations. Red Cross Representative Lori Gaittan said the time from Memorial to Labor Day weekends brings an increase in the need for blood and a decrease in donations.

Red Cross Representative Lori Gaittan explains why blood is needed more at this time of the year

At a blood drive on Tuesday at Jefferson Hall, Gaittan said that 650 units are needed every day to keep the hospitals in the Southeast Ohio region up to date. As of Wednesday May 28th, the region is currently 192 units, or pints, short of what they need to provide for the hospitals in the area. Type O blood is currently the most in demand.
“Optimal for us is to have a three day supply of all the different blood types and there are 8 of them.” She said. “So anytime we fall below that 3 day supply of one or more we start to get a little concerned.”
Gaittan said that one unit of blood can save four lives.

Gaittan talks about how much blood is needed and where it goes.

Many are unaware that there is a blood shortage. Jefferson Hall Resident Assistant Erica Cohn knew more is needed. Since she was unable to donate because she is under the minimum weight, she decided instead to organize the blood drive.
“I think that donors need to get out and donate because there is a very small portion of the U.S. population that actually donates blood and they are plenty of people who are eligible,” she said.

Jefferson Hall Resident Assistant and blood drive organizer Erica Cohen talks about why she feels people should donate blood.

Another volunteer, Joe Stitt, said he was aware of the shortage and thinks it is because people do not take the time to find out whether they are eligible.

Blood Drive volunteer Joe Stitt talks about the blood shortage.

Some Red Cross guidelines for giving blood
• Be at least 17 years of age
• Weigh at least 110 lbs
• Generally good health
• Have not given blood in the last eight weeks
• Are not on any antibiotics
• Blood pressure is below 180 systolic/100 diastolic when donating.
• Have not received a blood transfusion in the last year
• Do not have cold or flu symptoms
• You have not spent more than three months or received a blood transfusion from 1980-1996 in any of the following countries: Channel Islands, England, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
• Have not received a transplant in a year
• Are not on certain medications
• Can not be pregnant or nursing
• You can donate even if you have certain sexually transmitted diseases, you must wait 12 months after treatments
• Wait 12 months after getting a tattoo
• Waiting one year after traveling to any country that has malaria and three years if you lived there
• If you have spent long periods of time where mad cow disease is found, you are not eligible

Gaittan explains guidelines for giving blood and the challenges the Red Cross faces.

On Wednesday there will be a blood drive beginning at 1:00PM at Wilson Hall on Ohio University’s West Campus. There will also be a community blood drive Saturday May 31st at Athens Sport Cycles on Columbus Rd from 10:00AM-4:00PM. Make sure to find out whether you are eligible before donating blood.

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