And that’s when the need for blood increases.
Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of the summer vacation period, and that usually means fewer people giving blood. The American Red Cross says there are often 100,000 fewer donations during the warmer months, June, July and August. “Vacation plans and summer activities typically cause fewer donations that are available to give,” says spokesman Steve Mavica. “And then you add to that that many schools where blood drives are held are out of session during the summer months, which adds to the lack of donors that are available to give.”
He says the need is the greatest during the summer months, as there are more vehicle crashes and other accidents. “So we ask folks now to come out, especially during the June, July, August time frame, to help us insure that we do have blood available during the summer for patients in need,” says Mavica
The Red Cross says the greatest need is for O-Negative (O-) blood types, which is the universal blood type. Mavica says that’s important especially during surgeries. “When seconds and minutes matter in an emergency room, and a doctor doesn’t have the opportunity or the time to type your blood, he can go to that default O-Negative blood and be sure that the blood will not be refused by your body, and you have a better chance of surviving that incident or accident,” he says.
But the Red Cross says all blood types are welcome.
Anyone who wants to give blood should be at least 17-years of age, but 16-year-olds can give with parental consent. They should also be in good health and weigh 110 pounds or more, says Mavica.
To give blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS and make an appointment to give blood in your area. You can also schedule a time by going on line to www.redcrossblood.org, and type in your zip code to find the nearest blood drive or blood donor center in your community.