|This is a press release from United Blood Services
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Recent severe winter storms across the U.S. have put additional pressure on the nation’s blood supply, which is already trying to recover from low donor turnout over the holidays. With heavy rain and areas of flooding in the west to high winds, record snow, avalanches and ice across big chunks of the rest of the country, the number of people able to come out and give blood is significantly impacted in many parts of the country. And yet the need for blood remains.
Locally, since the beginning of the year, blood donations have declined drastically. Severe weather can disrupt blood center operations, even if that weather is hundreds of miles away. With severe weather pounding states throughout the country, there is no surplus of blood on which we can rely to help during this critical need for blood. United Blood Services is urging donors to donate now.
“We understand that everyone is getting back into a routine after the holidays,” said Mitzi Breaux, Untied Blood Services. “The fact is that we still need our community to step up and help out with a blood donation to meet the needs of the hospital patients we serve.”
All blood types are welcome with type O-negative most urgently needed. O-negative is the universal blood type and can be given to patients of any blood type. It is often used for premature infants and in emergency situations when there is no time to type and crossmatch the patient. Breaux said platelet donors are needed as well. Platelets are 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.
Donors are encouraged to make appointments online at www.bloodhero.com or by calling 601-264-0743.
The blood center at 805 S. 28th Avenue in Hattiesburg is open Monday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Wednesday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday CLOSED, Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Blood donation takes about an hour from check-in to refreshments. Donors can save about 20 minutes by completing their Fast Track Health History the day they donate. It’s at www.UnitedBloodServices.org.
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 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian. Donors receive a free cholesterol test.