Blood supply dwindles

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 20, 2007

With local blood supplies dwindling, officials with the American Red Cross are asking Roanoke-Chowan area residents to please consider making a donation of this life-sustaining substance.

The Greater Albemarle Area Chapter of the Red Cross is reporting that the blood supply of O positive and O negative has reached critical levels in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

“As we approach Labor Day weekend, it is critical we collect enough blood to get us through that weekend,” said Georgia Donaldson, Account Manager for the Greater Albemarle Area Chapter.

Donaldson said the dangerously low supply of O positive and O negative have led those two blood types to be released in emergency situations only. She added that A positive, A negative and B positive blood are currently on restricted release.

“We are encouraging all citizens in the Roanoke-Chowan area as well as all in eastern North Carolina to donate blood at one of our upcoming blood drives,” Donaldson said.

The following Red Cross blood drives are scheduled locally:

Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 12 noon until 6 p.m. at Ahoskie United Methodist Church (212 West Church Street).

Tuesday, Aug. 28 from 2-6 p.m. at Winton Baptist Church (204 Main Street).

Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Perdue QES Building (NC 308 west of Lewiston).

Friday, Aug. 31 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital (500 South Academy Street, Ahoskie).

Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 1-7 p.m. at Edenton United Methodist Church (225 Virginia Road).

Wednesday, Sept. 5 from 1:30-7:30 p.m. at Gates County Community Center (U.S. 158 east of Gatesville).

Please note to call, toll-free, 1-800-GIVE LIFE on the day of the aforementioned blood drives to confirm the date and time.

The whole blood donation process takes approximately one hour or less. During that time, one unit (commonly referred to as a &uot;pint&uot;) of whole blood is donated.

There are four steps in the whole blood donation process:

1. Confidential Medical History – donors complete a confidential form, including name, address and general health information. A series of health-related questions is included. At this point of the process, certain medications, health problems or conditions may disqualify you from donating blood.

2. Mini-physical – performed by a qualified staff person. Temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure are checked and a drop of blood taken from your finger will determine the iron level in your blood.

3. Blood Donation – collected using a sterile, single use needle for each donor. As your donation begins, you will feel a slight pinch. In about 10 minutes, you will have completed your blood donation.

4. Beverages and Snacks – finally, you can relax while you enjoy refreshments. A period of rest will help your body adjust to the slight decrease in fluid volume. Your body replaces that fluid within 24 hours. You then leave, knowing that you have just helped to save several lives by donating blood! Don’t forget to donate again in 56 days!

For more information, call 1-800 GIVE LIFE or visit