With summer in full swing, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is seeing a decrease in blood donors. As such, it is making an emergency blood appeal.
"Nationwide, we are finding 50,000 fewer pints of blood this year as compared to last year," said Shannon Ludwig, communications program manager for the American Red Cross northeastern Pennsylvania blood services region.
The reason for the decrease in blood donations could be because people have started their summers early, said Anne P. Smith, communications specialist for the central Pennsylvania chapter.
"We've seen a little bit of diminishment in turnout at local blood drives," Smith said. "It's the same reason as national - a jump-start in the season."
People have been scheduling early summer activities rather than scheduling their donations every 56 days.
"We're all creatures of habit," she said. "When we get out of our habits, it's easy to forget. That cumulative absence of regular donors really adds up fast."
Blood drives this week
The local chapter of the American Red Cross has planned the following blood drives this week in the region:
Noon to 6 p.m., Lock Haven University, Parsons Union Building
1 to 6 p.m., Van Campen Motors, 601 W. Third St.
Noon to 6 p.m., Renovo Fire Department, 230 11th St., Renovo.
Noon to 6 p.m., Lock Haven Moose Lodge, 150 S. Hanna St., Lock Haven.
Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org for more information and to make an appointment.
Just because people forget does not mean the need goes away.
"We really need it," Smith said. "It can't be manufactured. It's man-made and man, do we need it."
The Red Cross monitors the blood inventory to see what is available in the region and country, should an emergency or major disaster happen.
"We can send blood when it's needed," Ludwig said. "The wildfires out West, the storms in the mid-Atlantic, we're able to send blood to those who need it ... We want to make sure patients can receive the care they need. For the most part, the blood we collect stays locally."
All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer, Smith said.
O negative is especially useful because it may be transfused into any patient. If a patient is losing blood and there isn't time to find out what blood type is needed, O negative may be used until the doctor finds out.
"It's ideal for situations in accidents," Ludwig said.