Blood banks are facing a critical shortage of supplies due to a big dip in donations in recent weeks.
Nicole Hanger is a spokesperson for the Des Moines based LifeServe Blood Center, which serves over 90 hospitals in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. “Generally, we like to have a 3 to 5 day blood supply on our shelves at all times,” Hanger says. “With our current inventory levels, with have about 1 to 2 days worth of blood products, which makes us a little nervous.”
It’s not uncommon for blood donations to drop off over the busy holiday period in December, but Hanger says the pre-Christmas blizzard and the recent increase in influenza activity have added to the problem. “When people are not feeling well, they can’t come in and we want you to be in good health when you come in to give a donation. That really has been a factor in our decrease of blood donations,” Hanger says.
Iowans who would like to donate blood must be at least 16 years old, weigh over 120 pounds and be in good health. “It doesn’t take very long, about an hour of your time, and it’s really easy,” Hanger says. “You can save three lives just by coming in and giving a donation.”
Potential donors can schedule an appointment at www.lifeservebloodcenter.org or by calling 800-287-4903.