Severe weather impacts blood donations

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Students donate blood at one of the blood drives held monthly on BYU campus. Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill.

The American Red Cross experiences a shortage of blood and platelet donations after the severe winter weather across the country.

About 250 blood drives across 25 states were cancelled because of the “arctic vortex” sweeping the Midwest and East coast. A shortage of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations has been created as a result of the cancellations.

Blood types O positive and negative, A negative and B negative are the most in-demand. Blood donors with these blood types, as well as platelet donors, are encouraged to donate promptly to offset the donation shortage.

“The need for blood is constant,” said John Peterson,a representative for the American Red Cross in Utah. “In Utah, someone needs blood every 8 minutes. In the U.S, someone needs blood every 2 seconds.”

Blood Drives is a Y-Serve program that helps organize blood drives monthly on BYU campus. It will be hosting a blood drive Jan. 13-17 in the Wilkinson Center. Jacob Shelley, Program Director for Blood Drives, says that donating blood usually takes less than 30 minutes and new donors are always needed.

Many people fear donating blood, because of horror stories told about people passing out after donating.

“It was scary at first. But then when I was eating the snacks at the end, it was fun. It definitely wasn’t as bad as I pictured it was going to be. I expected the worst,” said Sara Andersen, a junior from Las Vegas majoring in exercise science.

There are many things potential donors can do to ensure a positive blood donating experience. The American Red Cross website provides some good tips to having a successful blood donation. Among the suggestions are: eating food with protein, drinking sufficient water and relaxing. For more visit redcrossblood.org.

There are requirements for donating blood. According the the American Red Cross website, donors must be healthy, be over 17 years old and weigh over 110 pounds.

Some might find themselves ineligible to donate blood, but they can still help in the effort to save lives. Peterson said, “If you can’t donate, ask a friend or family member to donate for you. Or you can volunteer at a blood drive.”

The American Red Cross will offer extended hours at designated sites throughout Utah, in order to encourage donations. The closest donation center to BYU campus is in Orem. It is located at 384 E University Pkwy. Donors can call 1-800- RED CROSS (1-800-733-2787) or visit redcrossblood.org to learn more and make an appointment.

 

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