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Platelet, blood donors needed

Frigid temps cause drive cancellations, decrease supply

PITTSBURGH — Record-breaking, frigid temperatures in the Midwest, South and along the East Coast, and severe weather conditions that have caused blood drive cancellations and donor center closures, have combined to form a “bomb cyclone” for blood collections – collections have severely

plummeted.

This has put additional pressure on the nation’s blood supply (especially for type O-negative and platelets), which is already trying to recover from lower donor turnout over the holidays.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and Central Blood Bank is putting out a call to donors to help save lives during this time of extreme need.

“We know the weather conditions can discourage people from going out and cause them to cancel appointments, but we really need people to keep those appointments,” said Kristen Lane, marketing lead for Central Blood Bank.

“We hope new donors will consider making a donation during this time of need as well. Your donations truly save the lives of local patients.”

While all blood and donation types are welcome, there’s a critical need for type O-negative and platelets. O-negative, the universal blood type that’s always in high demand, can be given to patients of any blood type. It is often used for premature infants and trauma patients. Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Their shelf life is very short–only 5 days–while whole blood or red cell donations can last 42 days.

As part of the Blood Systems Blood Services division, Central Blood Bank is included in a multi-state network of blood centers. This network works in tandem, moving lifesaving donations throughout the system–once local patient needs are met–to help ensure blood is available when and where it’s needed most.

Central Blood Bank urges both existing and first-time donors of all blood types to visit centralbloodbank.org or call 866-366-6771 to schedule an appointment at one of our donor centers or at a mobile blood drive centralbloodbank.org/donate-blood/where-to-donate. Donors can save about 20 minutes by completing their health history the day they donate using Donor Pass at donateblood.centralbloodbank.org/DonorPass.aspx.

The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis. It can take 24 to 36 hours to collect, test, process and distribute blood where it’s needed.

Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Central Blood Bank has been this area’s nonprofit community blood provider for more than 60 years, and serves patients in 50 hospitals in the Pittsburgh region, including nine western Pennsylvania counties and communities throughout West Virginia and eastern Ohio. It is a Blood Systems blood center. Blood Systems is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, currently serving more than 1,000 hospital and health care partners across 28 states to provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services for patients in need.

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