American Red Cross preparing for Fourth of July weekend

In order to avoid a blood emergency during the Fourth of July holiday, Red Cross officials are urging eligible individuals, especially those with type O blood, to make a blood donation as soon as possible.
As of yesterday, only 59 units of O negative blood and 363 units of O positive blood sat on the shelves at the regional blood center, which serves approximately 100 hospitals.
Causing extra concern is the holiday weekend, which will mean more cars on the road and an increased potential for accidents.
In an effort to generate more donors this summer, the American Red Cross of the Greater Alleghenies Region is issuing a weekly snapshot of the area’s current blood supply.
This week’s blood fact is provided by Dr. Linda Chambers of the ARC Biomedical Headquarters.
She provided the information that patients with multiple traumatic injuries typically require four to 40 units of red blood cells. When 10 or more units of red blood cells are needed in less than 24 hours, plasma and platelets are almost always needed as well. Some patients may require fewer products, and some more.
Because of the urgent need for blood, numerous blood drives have been scheduled in Blair County for the month of July.
Friday, July 2 from noon to 6 p.m., there is a scheduled blood drive at the Tyrone Elks Lodge, and another drive is scheduled for Friday, July 9 from 11-5 p.m. at the Altoona Hospital.
A full listing of area blood drives can be found by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
According to facts and statistics from the ARC, although approximately half the population is eligible to give blood, only five percent give each year.
To give blood, individuals must: be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 105 pounds and be in generally good health.
Also, the ARC has brought back the Grateful Life Tour for this summer, and it will be visiting Tyrone on August 4.
For current blood donation information, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or 1-800-542-5663, or check the region’s web site at www.redcrosslife.org.