New Jersey faces a Blood Donation Shortage: You Can Help

Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference in the event of a tragedy? The American Red Cross continues to face a critical blood shortage. Eligible donors of all types are are urged to give now.

In my opinion, blood donors become life-saving heroes in tragedies, both big or small. So that begs the question, how do we battle the shortage of blood donors?

Alana Mauger of the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey tells me that ‘Across the country, over the past two months, we have collected 61,000 less units than we need."

The trend seems to be that this call for blood happens every summer, as our schedules become busier with vacation and enjoying the weather. However, the summer fun calls for even more blood donations as a precaution.

Mauger adds, ‘In our blood services region in Penn-Jersey, we need to collect around 1,000 units of blood every day and that’s year round. 365 days a year.”

It’s a simple process to donate blood. Once you arrive to the facility, they’ll have you check in, so they know you’ve made it to the appointment. Then in the meantime, they’ll ask you to prepare yourself by reviewing materials, so you know exactly what to expect.

Once you’ve checked into your appointment, they’re going to check on your health history. They might ask if you have traveled anywhere out of the country, your height and weight and then test your iron levels. This is done in private just to ensure that you’re a candidate to donate blood.

Bob Morgan, a board member of the American Red Cross of Penn-Jersey suggests, “Its very important to have healthy donors, in many cases, people are deferred for health reasons or where they have traveled and that takes them out of the equation of eligible donors, and we need to make sure we have an adequate supply and it is a perishable product."

Morgan has donated just shy of 300 units of blood and platelets throughout his life.

He adds, “I think hospitals have become really good about managing their blood that they’re using and they only take as much as they need because it is a perishable product and there’s a limited supply of it."

Once the technician declares you an eligible candidate, they discharge you to the donor center and they take a pint of blood.

They try to keep five days’ worth of blood, so the hospitals have enough blood to help patients from five days out. They send blood to the hospital as soon as it comes in because rely on the generosity of blood donors.

To find your local donor center, log onto www.redcross.org. You must be in good general health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 16 years old to donate blood or platelets.

In closing, you can help save lives in just a matter of minutes. You may never get to meet the person who receives your blood, but i bet you’ve changed their life in a great way.

For the full broadcast on ‘Jersey Matters,’ you can visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AODyuR1P43k

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