Blood Bank of Delmarva in urgent need of donors

DOVER — More than 350 blood donors are needed daily to maintain an adequate supply for patients in 19 hospitals throughout the area.

When fewer pint donations are collected on one day, more are needed the next to compensate to keep up with a never-ending demand.

On Thursday the Blood Bank of Delmarva made a public call for assistance due to “experiencing a significant shortage of blood donations due to ongoing winter weather, seasonal illnesses, and the recent snowfall which caused cancellation of blood drives and forced donors to cancel appointments. We need help from the community to replenish our blood supply.”

According to Director of Donor Recruitment and Marketing Karesa Fleary, “We have less than a three day’s supply of all blood types.

“It is urgent that people give blood today because blood is going out the door faster than it is coming in.”

A seven-day supply of stored blood is optimal, so there’s currently less than half what’s needed, Ms. Fleary said.

This week’s snow call forced collection centers to close and Ms. Fleary described the past two weeks as “particularly challenging.” Scheduled blood drives as schools – where 25 percent of donations are made – added to the shortage.

“Hospitals have needs every day, in addition to traumas that can’t be foreseen,” Ms. Fleary said.

Smyrna High School will host a collection on Feb. 28 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is closed to the public and donations will come from students and staff.

According to Ms. Fleary, 0 positive blood is the most transfused type, with the 0 negative universal variety the most in demand. Actually, though, “We need all types,” Ms. Fleary said.

“We are in a very critical situation currently,” Ms. Fleary said. “We have very few products on the shelves.”

Appointments aren’t needed, and a visit typically takes about 75 minutes from start to finish. Registration and medical screening comes first, followed by a 15-minute pint donation and rest and relaxation to boost the hemoglobin level. Cookies and juice are served.

The Dover Collection Center at 221 Saulsbury Road is open from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The facility is closed Sunday. Other Blood Bank locations are in Newark, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Salisbury, Maryland.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or online at delmarvablood.org.

Notes on blood donations

According to the Blood Bank of Delmarva:

• Make sure you eat your regular meals and drink plenty of fluids (limit caffeine intake) prior to donation.

• The volume of fluids will adjust within a few hours of your donation. The red blood cells will be replaced within a few weeks.

• Red blood cells, used for traumas, have a 42-day shelf life. Platelets, the clotting element in the blood that is used for cancer and leukemia patients, have a shelf life of 5 days. Plasma, which is mainly used for burn victims, has a shelf life of one year.

• The type of blood donation you make will determine the wait time for the next donation. If you donate: Whole blood—every 56 days Double red blood cells—every 112 days Platelets—every 14 days

• The blood supply has never been safer. Every blood donation is tested for 11 infectious diseases and conditions, including Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Syphilis, West Nile Virus, and Chagas Disease.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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