Blood Center seeks donors | Demand goes up, donations go down during the summer

Published 12:53 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The typical summertime pattern of a drop off in blood donations while many potential donors are out enjoying some vacation time is currently in place, so people are encouraged to make a visit to the Blood Center to donate, according to Public Relations Manager Amanda Chittenden.

In addition to the vacation factor, the break from classroom during the summer means there is less participation during the blood drives held at high schools and colleges, which generally make up a large portion of donations received through those drives, Chittenden said.

While a summer decline is being seen, Chittenden emphasized that “the Blood Center is not experiencing a blood shortage” and is currently able to meet the demand of the hospitals served by it.

But all those who are not on vacation and are available to donate blood are encouraged to do so, since an increase in blood usage is seen during the summertime months, Chittenden said.

“People have their vacation time so they’ll schedule elective surgeries,” she said. “The demand is up, and donations are typically down.”

A certain level of donations is needed to ensure that the demand within the community will be met, Chittenden said.

“When you have the decline, there’s a possibility that we won’t have what is needed by the patients in the hospitals when they need it, so we do have to make sure that we collect at least 300 to 350 pints of blood each day to keep up with the demand in our service area for the hospitals that we cover,” she said.

People should become donors because blood is something that cannot be manufactured and can only be obtained through volunteer donations, Chittenden said.

“Blood is needed in treatments for cancer, organ transplants, trauma situations,” she said. “There is a constant need for blood. Every three seconds, someone needs blood, so it’s important that people donate so that the blood is available whenever it’s needed.”

Donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds, Chittenden said. However, 16-year-olds can donate blood as long as they weigh at least 130 pounds and have a Blood Center parental consent form signed, she said.

“Then there’s no upper age limit,” she said. “You just have to be in general good health.”

To donate in Bogalusa, people can stop by the Blood Center office at 324 Austin St., which is open each Monday and Wednesday from noon until 7 p.m. Mobile blood drives are also held in Bogalusa from time to time, Chittenden said.

To find out more about the Blood Center and its 15 locations, visit thebloodcenter org. Information about the organization’s Facebook page and iPhone and Android apps is also available via the website.