United Blood Services on Monday announced an urgent appeal for type O blood donors, joining a growing number of blood centers across the country that are encouraging blood donors to step up and help out during the final weeks of August.
United Blood Services has fixed site centers located in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Ventura with mobile blood drives throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Donors may call 877.UBS.HERO (827.4376) or click here to find a mobile blood drive or to make a convenient appointment to donate.
Only 6 percent of the population has O-negative blood, yet patients of all blood types can safely receive it. O-positive is the most prevalent blood type — 37 percent of the population has it — so it is needed in greater quantities.
“O-negative can be given to anyone in an extreme emergency situation when there is no time to crossmatch the donor’s blood with the patient’s,” explained Scott Edward, regional recruitment director for United Blood Services, this area’s non-profit community blood service provider. “Another special need for O-negative blood is in the treatment of babies. Neonatal care facilities require fresh units of O-negative blood each day to treat their tiny patients.”
If eligible, type O donors can maximize their donation by giving a double red cell donation. Donors who give just their red blood cells through a special donation called apheresis can double the amount of red blood cells donated at one time.
“Every two to three seconds in this country, someone needs blood. And you never know when you or someone you love will be the one," Edward said. "We all expect blood to be available when we need it, but only a few of those who can give actually roll up their sleeves. If you have type O blood, it’s time for you to get involved.”
Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors age 22 or younger, and donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.
— Jennifer Van Donge is a publicist representing United Blood Services.