Well a large snow storm hit the DC area causing closures of schools and government and cancellations of many events and activities. Many people do not realize that blood shortages are common during storms because blood drives are canceled and donators can’t make it to the donor services centers. Over the years when there have been disastrous storms, blood stores run dangerously low and blood banks have to ration. I would be devastated if I had to have emergency surgery and there was not enough blood to go around .
It just so happened that I donated blood three months ago so I was able to go yesterday and donate. I normally alternated between whole blood and ABC platelets. So yesterday I went after work to Inova Blood Donor Services and donated blood. Very few people were there while I was donating but one of the nurses told me that a huge crowd was there earlier in the day. I was happy to hear that people went out of their way before the storm to donate and help others.
Blood is one material that can not be created at a factory and takes everyday people like you to donated. The blood is scanned and check for diseases and other contaminates then is separated into different parts; plasma (the fluid which carries red blood cells, white cells and platelets) , red blood cells (carry oxygen), and platelets (control bleeding). Plasma is frozen and can be stored up to a year while red blood cells are refrigerated for up to 42 days and platelets are stored at room temperature for up to five days. With the short storage times that the platelets and red blood cells can be stored donating often helps keep our supply at safe levels for those emergencies that arise.
I hope you all will go and donate blood when you can. It is only a pint of blood but it can help save a life.