As the holiday season comes to a close, the Oklahoma Blood Institute is seeking additional donors. Heather Browne, marketing and media manager, said they are always in need of blood this time of year. The reason they need more blood is not necessarily related to an increase in demand, but instead it comes from a decrease in supply.
“It’s the holiday season,” Browne said. “People get busy this time of year, and they get out of their normal routines of giving blood because they’re going out of town and spending more time with family.”
Browne went on to describe why giving blood is so important and can save many lives.
“Every two seconds somebody needs blood,” Browne said. “The Oklahoma Blood Institute serves 90% of the hospitals in the state, so your blood will be helping somebody locally, and each blood donation saves up to three lives.”
Browne said one donation can save multiple lives because of the way the blood is processed and broken down into different components. The whole blood can be divided into red blood cells, platelets and plasma, and each component can then go to a different patient.
Browne said the process of giving blood is easy and takes about an hour from start to finish. The actual blood donation itself takes only about 10 minutes, with the rest of the time being used for the screening process.
“You have to be healthy and feeling good that day, and you can’t be taking any medications that may defer you - such as a blood thinner,” Brown said. “Patients then answer a series of health questions and the phlebotomist will then test (the individual) for iron to make sure they have good iron levels. Once they’re cleared through screening, they can go donate the blood.”
People as young as 16 years old may donate blood but must weigh at least 125 pounds and have a signed parental consent form which can be found online at www.obi.org. Seventeen year olds must also weigh at least 125 pounds but do not need a parental consent form, and those 18 and older must weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors can donate whole blood every 56 days.
Browne said that while communities such as Ardmore have dedicated donor centers set up in town, there are also dozens of mobile blood drives taking place every day across the state. To find a location near you, visit www.obi.org.
“January is national blood donor month, so we’re really pushing for people who maybe have never donated before to try it out,” Browne said. “It’s easy, and you save three lives, so we’re urging people to commit to donating in 2020.”