Red Cross needs blood

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 14, 2015

Red Cross officials issued a plea this week for blood donations of O negative, Be negative and A negative blood due to a looming shortage.

Officials with the Red Cross Alabama Central Gulf Coast Blood Services region said they have seen about 1,211 fewer blood donations per month in June and July than the last 10 months.

“Summer blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be prevented when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Nick Gehrig, senior communications director for Red Cross Blood Services. “Many donors have already given this summer. We’re now asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who are eligible again, to make an appointment to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients.”

Officials said that when demand for the most needed types begin to outpace donations, the Red Cross alerts donors to help restock the shelves.

Type O negative is the universal blood and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types B negative and A negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The next local blood drive is scheduled for Sept. 24, at Covington Electric Cooperative, but to make an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS.