While summer is a time many enjoy vacations, cookouts and gatherings with friends and family, it is also a time hospitals need more blood donations as people tend to get too busy to think about donating blood.
Someone needs blood or a blood product every two seconds in the United States, according to America’s Blood Centers (ABC). About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood for a variety of reasons. Blood transfusions can be necessary for serious injuries, surgeries, childbirth, blood disorders, anemia and many other conditions and situations. Plasma donations can be vital for patients with liver failure, severe infections and serious burns.
Blood donations are needed year-round for these reasons. But during the summer months, HSHS St. John’s Hospital is encouraging the public to make a concerted effort to give blood at a local blood drive.
“Donations are important because we do not have an alternative for blood; it cannot be manufactured,” said Erica Hostetler, MLS (ASCP)CM, administrative laboratory director at HSHS St. John's Hospital. “Hospitals use blood every single day to help patients. We want to ensure supply is available for you or a loved one should you need it.”
Top four reasons to make donating blood part of your summer plans:
- Your donation can save a life, or several lives if your blood is separated into its components – red cells, platelets and plasma. In fact, one pint of blood can save up to three lives.
- As people are more active in the summer months, there are more motor vehicle and boating accidents and trauma, increasing the need for blood. At the same time, appointments to donate blood typically drop during the summer as people are traveling and schools are closed for the summer (many blood drives are held at schools).
- Before donating you receive a small health check-up (not to replace regular exams with your provider) that includes a check of your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and iron levels; Also, once your blood is collected and sent to a lab, further testing is done to check for infectious diseases and you are notified immediately if there are concerns.
- It is an easier process to donate when you are most commonly wearing a short-sleeve shirt in the summer, versus having to roll up a long sleeve during colder months.
For more information about how to save and improve quality of life for those in need of blood and plasma, visit the ImpactLife website at bloodcenter.org/donate, which is the organization that supplies HSHS Illinois hospitals with blood and blood products.
You can find a donation center and a schedule of blood drives in your community by visiting login.bloodcenter.org/donor/schedules.