Top Three Reasons Winter Blood Donations are Needed
Hospitals in Santa Barbara County have one thing in common, they receive blood from Vitalant, formerly United Blood Services. Who donates this much needed blood? Citizens of Santa Maria just like you, who have realized the importance of keeping a healthy blood supply in our community.
Ready at a moment’s notice, many units of blood are used for emergency situations, but what many people don’t realize is there are units that are transfused to local patients on a daily basis to support cancer therapy, open heart surgery, blood disorders, burn patients, and routine surgeries. Currently, there is an urgent need for donors of all types to give blood to help meet the current needs of patients.
Each year, during the winter, Vitalant experiences the “perfect storm” where the blood supply declines, but usage increases. Here are 3 reasons why your winter blood donation is so important and impactful:
1) It’s cold and flu season. When blood donors get sick, they are unable to donate, leaving a gap in regular donations. During this time of year, anyone who is healthy and is able to donate is needed to help make up for those who are under the weather.
2) So many of us are really busy after the holidays and regular blood donations get put on the back burner. The blood supply is especially reliant on new donors and those who donate only a couple of times a year to help see it through the post holiday slump.
3) Inclement weather. It really is mostly gorgeous here on the central coast, but when it rains, it tends to change the number of donors we get through the doors this time of year.
Whole blood donations are the most common type and can be given at any blood drive and at Vitalant’s Santa Maria Donation Center. Donors should allow one hour to complete the entire process, but the actual donation takes roughly 10 minutes. Whole blood donations are the bedrock of our nation’s blood supply. But, if donors can take a little extra time, there are other donation opportunities that are equally fulfilling and transformative. There are platelet, plasma and double red cell donations that are most needed depending on a donor’s blood type. Common or rare, your blood has the potential to change lives in a special way.
There is no substitute for human blood, and each unit that’s transfused has an awesome blood donor behind it. Imagine waking up to a text saying your blood is on its way to the hospital to be transfused to a patient. What a feeling of awe to be able to participate in transforming another human life.
Potential donors can search for a convenient blood drive at www.vitalant.org or stop by Vitalant’s donor center in Santa Maria at 1770 S. Broadway (Between Inger and Newlove). Walk-ins are welcomed, however hours do vary, so appointments are strongly suggested.