Last week, the St.Pat’s Board and Student Council held their annual blood drive with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks. As per usual, there was a very good turn out. In fact, there was a line to donate blood every day, causing some donors to wait almost an hour and a half before having their blood drawn. If you ran into this problem this last week, do not let it put you off donating again at the next blood drive in roughly eight week. To avoid this issue in the future you can schedule an appointment through the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks’ website, http://www.cbco.org/donate-blood/, and bypass the wait. Regardless of whether you endure the long wait, cheat your way to the front, or schedule an appointment, there are always perks to donating at the blood drives held in Havener. Such perks include munching on zebra cakes and other free snacks, and typically getting a free t-shirt out of the deal. In this case, it was a free St. Pat’s themed t-shirt, another green item that can be worn instead of the same, crusty Pat’s sweatshirt during our beloved, 10-day celebration in March. Keep these perks in mind the next time there is a blood drive at Havener, especially if you did not get the chance to donate last week. If you want to donate again, donors can give every fifty-six days (eight weeks).
There are different levels of need for different blood types depending on how large the reserves for a specific blood type are. The levels of need are categorized by color coding, green, yellow, and red, from the least amount of need to the greatest respectively. Green classification means that there is an adequate amount of blood in the blood bank for that blood type. Code yellow alert means the amount of a blood type is less than sufficient and hospitals want donations soon to keep a steady supply. In order to be at a code yellow alert, there must be 40 area hospitals with less than a two day supply of the particular blood type. The code red alert represents an emergency appeal and an immediate need of a blood type, where eligible donors are asked to give immediately. Code red alert typically happens in wake of a disaster, but can happen without a disaster so potential donors are asked to keep that in mind. Potential donors must be sixteen of age, be a minimum of 110 pounds and be of standard health. As implied above, depending on a donor’s blood type, they might have a higher need for their blood and might be asked to donate more if their height and weight meets the safe requirement to do so. Typically, not all blood types are all at the same level at the same time. As of January 31, 2017, when the St. Pat’s blood drive started, O Positive and O Negative were on code red alert and A Positive and B Negative were all on code yellow. The most requested blood types are O Negative and O Positive because other blood types can receive them without harm to the patient. O Negative tends to be yellow level because it is a universal donor, meaning any human can accept it, but O Negative people can only receive O Negative blood.
If you are someone who has never given, but are eligible to donate, there are plenty of reasons to give blood and/or platelets. The most basic reason being to help the general population. On average, someone in the US needs blood about every two seconds. This statistic comes from the fact that people typically need three pints during a single transfusion and a typical car accident victim can need up to ten pints of blood. Each donor contributes one pint of blood and if you have a high enough percent of iron can give two pints. Any S&T student can do the simple math, there must be more donors than patients to keep the quantities even.
While donating blood is an important thing to do, many people are hesitant to donate for several reasons. The most common reasons that may cause someone to be reluctant to donate are: being queasy around blood, fear of needles, and being nervous about iron deficiency. Queasiness due to being near blood or needles is not always easy to conquer, but not impossible. For some it just takes the initiative to tell the person conducting the donation that they get light headed easily. The administrator will lay them down immediately after setting up the necessary equipment for the donation. They will also cover the needle so the donor will not have to see anything. Otherwise, if you are worried about being iron deficient, eating beef, spinach, or tuna before donating will help in increasing iron beyond deficient. If you are vegetarian, vegan or plain just do not like spinach, some alternatives are dried apricots or canned lima beans. Additionally, it is important to make sure you are drinking plenty of water in order to help prevent the fatigue of giving blood. With the correct preparation, mentally and physically, lots of people can be courageous enough to challenge themselves to conquer a fear. Ultimately, the satisfaction of knowing the blood could help someone live another day is a great reward in conquering obstacles and donating.