Healthy blood donors needed this time of year

Among the good reasons for getting a flu shot is to keep yourself healthy enough to be there for the folks who need you, this time of year. That is true in a larger sense when it comes to those in need of donated blood — and there are many more than we normally think.

According to one nonprofit blood bank agency in Northeast Ohio, blood levels are at a critical low after the holidays — partly because the flu season is now at full roar. (Donors must show no flu symptoms for at least one week before giving blood).

“We strive to maintain a four-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” Dr. Ralph Vassallo, chief medical officer at Vitalant, told another media outlet.

In fact, that organization took in approximately 21,000 units FEWER than expected over the holidays. In their case, that means 21,000 fewer units to supply nearly every major hospital in the region.

Closer to home, we are more familiar with the work of the America Red Cross, of course. And they, too are always in need of healthy blood donors. Think for a moment about any friends or family who have recently been in need of blood or blood products. Imagine if the supply simply wasn’t there.

If you are healthy and eligible to donate, you can make that difference.

Just this month, there are American Red Cross blood drives at: the Lowell Volunteer Fire Department, Friday; St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Marietta, Jan. 13; the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center, Jan. 22; and Washington State Community College, Jan. 30.

Get more details at redcrossblood.org.

Again, if you are healthy and meet all the requirements, it’s tough to come up with an excuse to avoid giving blood.

Don’t be a chicken about it. You never know who might need you.