Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP
As summer ends, many us are relieved to see the end to the heat and for me personally, the kids returning to school.
But the end of summer is not a relief for some. In fact, its not a relief for any of us. The blood shortage crisis that plagued our country in the beginning of the summer has gotten worse. And blood supplies for many blood banks, hospitals, medical centers are now at critical levels.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Zika crisis is preventing many people who usually donate blood to wait at least a month, following the February FDA deferral recommendations. And today we learn that two Florida counties have halted blood donation entirely due to a confirmed local transmission of the virus.
National Blood Donation Week was created for this reason. The first full week of September, the 4th – 10th is National Blood Donation Week culminating on September 10th for National Blood Donation Day. Created by Dr. Daliah Wachs, a family physician, nationally syndicated radio personality and assistant professor at Touro University Nevada, National Blood Donation Week unites all states and blood banks all across America. In 2014 she joined forces with United Blood Services and American Red Cross to create Nevada Blood Donation Day, and its success led to the creation of the campaign to create state blood donation days in every state.
States who proclaimed Blood Donation Days include:
Arizona Governor Ducey proclaimed Arizona Blood Donation Week, as did Governor Pence for Indiana.
Alaska proclaimed the whole month of September Blood Donation Challenge Month.
Please help fight the Blood Shortage
One pint of blood can potentially save three lives. So a campaign such as this could save millions. Many blood donors can donate every 56 days and if one is donating platelets (clotting factors) they could donate roughly every week with a max of 24 weeks.
Blood donation only takes about 10-15 minutes and all blood is screened prior to delivery to the blood banks.
When disaster strikes, the blood that is on the shelves had been processed days before. Hence blood needs to be donated and ready before a crisis. Since the shelf life of donated blood is approximately 42 days, blood donations are urged year round! The average healthy person can easily donate 3-4 times a year.
Any all all blood types are welcome. A, B, AB and O blood types will be gratefully received by blood banks throughout the US. If you can host a drive or donate blood, please visit any of the following websites:
www.NationalBloodDonationDay.com and follow the link. There are many blood banks available with their link if one wishes to donate blood or even host a blood drive.