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January is Blood Donor Month Extreme Weather Results in Shortages

By Jann Wiswall

January is always a tough month for hospitals as blood donations decline due to the pressures of the holidays and winter weather, but the bitterly cold weather this week has reduced the rate of donation even more.

According to the American Red Cross, nearly 125 Red Cross blood drives had been cancelled in 17 states due to the extreme cold and blizzard conditions as of early this week, “resulting in almost 4,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations.”

The weather doesn’t keep hospital patients from needing blood, though. One in every seven hospital patients will need a blood transfusion during their stay. And just one donation supplies enough blood products for as many as three patients.

So during this year’s blood donor month, the Red Cross is asking everyone to please consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible.

To give whole blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, meet certain height requirements and be in general good health. New York allows 16-year-olds to donate with their parents’ consent. Other aspects of each potential donor’s health history are discussed as part of the donation process before any blood is collected — each donor receives a brief physical examination during which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels are measured.

To make a platelet donation, certain other criteria must be met. Talk with your blood donor professional to see if you’re a potential platelet donor.

Several blood drives are coming up in the Ellicottville area next week. While appointments are encouraged and are easily made online at the Red Cross website, www.redcrossblood.org, walk-ins are also welcome.

January 13

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1-6 p.m.

6360 Route 242 East, Ellicottville, NY 14731

January 15

Salamanca American Legion, 1-6 p.m.

67 Wildwood Ave., Salamanca, NY 14779

January 17

United Congregational Methodist Church, 1-6 p.m.

134 Broad St., Salamanca, NY 14779

For additional blood donation opportunities and locations, visit www.redcrossblood.org

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