School's out, teenage blood donors take vacation, so shortages loom
Like most things American, the supply and demand cycle of blood used for life saving transfusions is a delicate situation. Every summer the threat of critical blood shortages keeps organizations like the American Red Cross working overtime to keep the blood bank full. Those interested in helping maintain the balance can donate to the red cross here in Price on July 23 and August 8.
Every year the summer months demonstrate seasonal shortages which make ordinary donations vitally important. According to officials at the ARC, these shortages are caused because a critical portion of their support community moves out of action every summer. As low blood levels can spell real trouble for patients requiring rare blood types the red cross is continually working to ensure that these dips in supply do not occur.
"Most people don't realize that high school students account for a significant portion of the blood giving community," said Kimberly Houk, media contact for the American Red Cross. "Without their participation some area's loose a large portion of their donated blood across the summer."
According to the red cross, vacations and other summer obligations and opportunities keep this vital cross-section of society from performing their normal routines dropping supply in the face of normal demand.
The American Red Cross reported that type O negative is universal and can likely be tranfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with either Rh positive or negative blood (it is the Rh antigen that determines whether or not a patient's blood is considered positive or negative). These blood types are the most in demand and the first to run out during a shortage.
Houk reported that fear keeps a great many citizens from donating. Not necessarily fear of needles or anything specific, but a fear of the unknown.
"The process is simple, you make an appointment, go in and get screened and then have one pint of blood drawn over a 45 minute period," she explained. "It is painless and simple and it saves lives."
A single pint of blood can treat three individuals, making donating an activity which provides instant gratification.
Houk noted that no special behavior or planning was needed on the day of donation. The Red Cross provides nutrients and anything else needed to those donating.
While a shortage in student donations can cause summer shortages, the Red Cross is constantly looking for new ways to increase the supply they have available. The ARC must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients at 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. To learn more and make an appointment to donate blood and help save lives.
The American Red Cross Blood will be conducting blood drives across Utah all summer, in Carbon County, the organization will be hosting drives on July 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbon County, 130 North, 200 East. The organization will also be in Price on August 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carbon County Fairgrounds.