Blood donors are needed, Vitalant extends hours through Jan. 28

Vitalant announces nationwide call for blood donors. (File photo)

January is National Blood Donor Month when new donors are encouraged to make blood donation a life-transforming habit.

According to a press release, there is an increased need for blood so donors are encouraged to give blood to rebuild the community blood supply. Vitalant’s six Valley donor centers hours have been extended through Monday, Jan. 28 to provide an opportunity for additional blood donations.

“We typically see a drop in donations around this time of year because people are not only recovering from the holidays, many are also suffering from the flu and other illnesses,” said Sid Lewis, senior director of donor recruitment for Vitalant’s Southwest Division, in a prepared statement. “Add bad weather to the mix and it makes it extremely difficult to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients who need it.”

The release said there is a need for platelets and Type O blood donations; however, all blood types are needed. In emergency situations, when a patient’s blood type is unknown, doctors reach for Type O blood first until the patient is stabilized.

Platelets have a short shelf life, which is only five days, the release noted.

Locally, Vitalant needs to collect 3,500 donations of all types per week to replenish the supply and meet the needs of area patients. Vitalant wants to maintain a four-day supply of Type O blood but has less than half that amount for the nationwide supply.

Compared to the first two weeks of December, blood donations collected in late December and early January were down 47 percent making it challenging to maintain an adequate blood supply, the release added.

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general 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.

Walk-in donors are accepted, but appointments are recommended to reduce wait time, the release said.

To schedule an appointment to give blood, go to BloodHero.com or call 877-258-4825.

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