County needs O negative blood

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

Going into one of the biggest holiday seasons of the year, local residents will have three opportunities to give blood and possibly save a life.

Earlier this week, the American Red Cross reported critically low levels of type O negative blood. Type O negative blood is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type, especially in emergency situations, said Paula Hester, volunteer coordinator and board member with the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“Statistics show that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood,” Hester said. “The Red Cross Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to approximately 100 hospitals and must have 600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

“Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day,” she said.

“There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.”

To help meet those needs, three blood drives are set for next week:

• Mon., June 28, at the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

• Tues., June 28, at Andalusia Regional Hospital from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and at Andalusia’s Southside Baptist Church from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

While there is an expressed need for O negative blood, donations of all blood types are welcomed.

“If a person donates just one pint of blood, it can go to help three different patients – which could possibly mean three separate lives saved,” Hester said. “And if you donate one pint of blood, you can donate again 56 days later.”

To donate, one must be 17 years old (16 with parental permission in Alabama), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in general good health. Photo ID or a Red Cross donor card must be presented before donating.

For more information on the upcoming blood drives or on becoming a Red Cross volunteer, call Hester at 334-881-0121.

Residents are urged to give blood next week. The Red Cross recently announced a critical shortage in O negative blood. | File photo