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Chamber holds blood drive today

The Park Hills – Leadington Chamber of Commerce will hold a community blood drive today to help replenish blood supplies in the area.

The current blood supply will only last a day-and-a-half without renewal, said Galen Roberts, American Red Cross donor recruitment account manager for the St. Francois, Iron, Washington and Jefferson counties. Especially needed are donations of O negative and O positive blood, he added.

” A safe amount is a 3-5 day supply,” Roberts said. “If there was a major catastrophic wreck, we wouldn’t have the blood that we need to supply.”

The Chamber hopes to collect at least 25 units of blood, executive director Tammy Burns said. The blood drive runs from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Chamber Office, 5 Municipal Drive, Park Hills. Donors who have time constraints may make an appointment, but donors may walk in at their convenience.

Upcoming blood drives in the county are scheduled from 3-7 p.m. Friday in Goose Creek Baptist Church in French Village; from 1-5 p.m. Friday in St. Francois Manor in Farmington; and from 10-2 p.m. Friday at the Department of Social Services in Park Hills.

“We usually do at least two a year, and sometimes three or four,” Burns said. “It’s important for the community and each unit can save lives.”

Each unit is approximately one pint of blood and is broken down into platelets, plasma and red blood cells. (The body has 10-12 pints of blood.) Each unit, therefore, potentially saves three lives. Kept cool, each unit lasts for about 42 days. Each donor may give blood again in 56 days.

Blood taken from donors in this area typically goes to area hospitals. However, the Red Cross does ship blood to other parts of the country if necessary, Roberts said.

During the summer, vacation plans deplete the number of donators. Meanwhile, accident rates increase the need for emergency blood.

Donors with type O blood are especially needed because Type O negative blood can go to any blood type, while O positive may be given to 84 percent of the population.

Roberts said O blood is commonly used in emergency rooms because it may be given before a blood match is performed. Approximately seven percent of the population is O negative and 38 percent have O positive blood.

There are some restrictions on people who may give blood, including some who are on antibiotics. However, people who have high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes might be able to give blood if their conditions are under control and they have their doctor’s permission, Roberts said.

For more information on restrictions for donors or a list of upcoming blood drives, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

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