It’s the season of giving — and not just gifts. Blood banks around the state are putting out the plea for donors to give blood — and platelets. Paula Dayton is spokeswoman for the University Hospitals Blood Center in Iowa City. Heading into Christmas weekend with New Year’s close behind, Dayton says they’re running low on all blood supplies, especially O-positive, O-negative and B-positive.
Dayton says “We have enough on our shelves right now to get through those times but just anticipating what could happen with the increases of people on the roads, the possibility of traffic accidents, things that could be going on in the bone marrow transplant unit, we’re just looking to make sure we have adequate supplies heading into the holiday weekends because we need to be prepared for whatever could come our way.” She says the U-of-I medical center goes through about 600 units of blood every week, or about 90 a day.
While the holidays are making people busier than normal, Dayton says donating life-giving fluids won’t take long out of your day. She says blood donation usually takes an hour while donating platelets may take up to two-and-a-half hours. Allison Hay is spokeswoman for the Blood Center of Iowa, based in Des Moines. Hay says that facility, which serves some 50 hospitals in 44 Iowa counties, is also looking for donors.
Hay says “Blood collections this time of year are historically lower but the number of patients who need blood is still the same so we still need people to come in and take the time to give a donation.” She says blood donors save up to three lives with each donation, yet fewer than eight-percent of Iowans donate blood. The Blood Center of Iowa needs more than 100-thousand units of blood each year to meet communities’ needs.