Low blood donations rates at local Central Coast blood centers and community blood drives have been falling short of expectations. The declining donations are now causing concern as United Blood Services California prepares for Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer.
Two trends intersect and cause challenges for blood centers during the weeks approaching the long holiday weekends; donation rates can rapidly decline and the risk of trauma accidents can increase. In 2012 and 2013, United Blood Services successfully avoided the declining donations with a series of productive blood drives. This has not been the case in 2014 as the first two weeks of May have experienced an unexpected decline in volunteer blood donations. The warming weather is suspected of being a factor as potential donors chose the beach over donating blood.
As the warm weather turns to 90s and above, comfort can be a factor for donors who elect to stay home. Even the recent Miguelito Fire near Lompoc caused a cancelation of a large community blood drive in Solvang.
“Locally we are 250 donations under expected results so far in May,” said Scott Edward, regional donor recruitment director with United Blood Services California. “We need to collect over 1,800 donations the week heading into the Memorial Day weekend, and we are hoping people will make time and help us out before Memorial Day.”
All blood types are needed as United Blood Services is asking for whole blood donors, plasma donors and platelet donors. Staying prepared for patient needs requires a supply of the three main blood components (red cells, plasma and platelets) from all the eight major blood types.
Make your convenient appointment to give blood by clicking here or calling 805.543.4290. With each donation, donors receive a free total cholesterol test and earn points in United Blood Services’ Hero in Me rewards program. Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 or 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.
For more information, click here.
— Liz Dewell is a publicist representing United Blood Services.