January is always a critical time of the year for blood collections because traditionally donations decline during the holiday season. At the same time, bad winter weather may lead to the cancellation or reduced attendance at scheduled blood drives.
“Supplies of many blood types are now at the critical 3-day level, with distribution restrictions on Type O, Rh negative blood,” said NJBS Executive Director Chuck Grossenbacher.
He noted that nationwide, 60% of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet in New Jersey only 2% actually give.
“Every day in the U.S. approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities to treat patients with cancer and other diseases, to support organ transplant recipients and accident and trauma victims,” Grossenbacher added. “When you consider that every three seconds, someone in this country needs blood, you can better understand the urgency of our needs.”
Qualified donors should be 17 years of age, weigh 110 pounds and present signed or photo ID. People can donate blood every 56 days and once donated, blood can be separated into several components including red blood cells, platelets and plasma, saving as many as three lives.
“There is no substitute for blood and the only place to get this precious resource is from volunteer blood donors,” Grossenbacher noted. “If eligible donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply.”
Persons with questions of medical eligibility, or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566).