GALLIPOLIS —January is National Blood Donor Month for good reason — the winter months can present a challenge when it comes to collecting blood and platelets.
Cheryl Gergely of the American Red Cross, said that blood donations tend to decline in the winter months for various reasons, while the need remains as great as ever.
“People are less likely to come to blood drives because of illnesses such as flu and colds, and because of bad weather,” said Gergely. “But we do need people to come out and support those patients who need medical treatment.”
Gergely said that all blood types are needed, although certain types are needed urgently. These are O-Positive, O-Negative, A-Negative and B-Negative.
Gergely added that she hopes area people will turn out this month and next to support the effort.
Upcoming local blood drives are as follows: Wednesday,11 a.m.- 4 p.m., January 22, Davis Family Conference Rooms, located on the Ground Floor of Holzer Medical Center in Gallipolis. For more information, please call (740) 446-5000; from 12-5 p.m., Friday, February 14, in the Community Education Room at Holzer Medical Center, Jackson. For more information, please call (740) 395-8500.
There are a few things people can do to make the blood-donating experience go more smoothly, Gergely added.
“We encourage people to eat first,” Gergely said, “We don’t want them to skip meals. Depending on the time of the donation, have breakfast or lunch before you go.”
Also, Gergely noted, people should bring their blood donor cards or drivers licences for identification.
“And if the dates and times aren’t convenient, they can visit the web site or call the 1-800 number to schedule an appointment.”
According to a press release from the American Red Cross, blood and platelet donors make a significant contribution to modern healthcare. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
For more information on how to donate blood, the Red Cross may be contacted at (800) 733-2767 or by visiting redcrossblood.org to make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for 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.