REGION-The American Red Cross along with area blood centers are urging the public to donate blood, especially during the winter months. The American Red Cross Blood Services, Northeast Pennsylvania Region will hold several public blood drives during the month of January in Wayne County. The American Red Cross said that “every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.” Each pint of blood can save up to three lives. Anyone wishing to donate blood “must be healthy.” Blood donors must be at least 17 in most states (16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. Males wishing to donate double red cells must be at least 17 years old, be at least 5'1” and weigh at least 130 pounds. Females wishing to donate double red cells must be at least 17 years old, be at least 5'5” and weigh at least 150 pounds. How often you can donate • Whole blood donors can give every 56 days. • Platelet donors can give every seven days, up to 24 times a year. • Plasma donors can give every 28 days, up to 13 times a year. • Double red cell donors can give every 112 days, up to three times a year. What if you're deferred Common reasons for deferrals, according to The American Red Cross, is low hemoglobin/hematocrit; cold, flu or other illness symptoms; temporary deferrals (certain travel, some medications); and permanent deferrals (certain travel, some medical conditions). The American Red Cross said if you are deferred you “can still make a difference,” explaining that many deferrals “are temporary.” If you have an extended or indefinite deferral you can still support them in other ways. Blood needs Listed below are facts about blood needs according to The American Red Cross: • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the United States. • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately three pints. • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O. • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs. • Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives. • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Blood supply The following are facts about blood supply according to The American Red Cross: • The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15.7 million. • The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 9.2 million. • Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10 percent actually do each year. • Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors. • Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply. • Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply. Donors Listed are some facts about donors: • The number one reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others.” • The two most common reasons cited by people who don't give blood are: "Never thought about it" and "I don't like needles." • If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives. • The American Red Cross accepts blood donations only from volunteer donors. • Among Red Cross donors in a given year, 19 percent donate occasionally, 31 percent are first-time donors, and 50 percent are regular, loyal donors. • Only seven percent of people in the United States have O-negative blood type. O-negative donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types. • Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient's blood type is known and with newborns who need blood. • Forty-five percent of people in the U.S. have Type O (positive or negative) blood. This percentage is higher among Hispanics – 57 percent, and among African Americans –51 percent. • Only three percent of people in the U.S. have AB-positive blood type. AB-positive type blood donors are universal donors of plasma, which is often used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions. Blood Types The American Red Cross said there are “eight different common blood types,” determined by the “presence or absence of certain antigens,” which are substances that can “trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body.” There are four major blood groups determined by the presence or absence of two antigens – A and B – on the surface of red blood cells: • Group A-has only the A antigen on red cells (and B antibody in the plasma). • Group B-has only the B antigen on red cells (and A antibody in the plasma). • Group AB-has both A and B antigens on red cells (but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma). • Group O-has neither A nor B antigens on red cells (but both A and B antibody are in the plasma). Anyone with Type O can donate red blood cells to people with any blood type, as it is a universal donor; people with Type A can donate to those with Type A and those with Type AB; people with Type B can donate to those with Type B and those with Type AB; and those with Type AB can donate to others with AB, but can receive from all others. For more information on The American Red Cross and donating blood, visit www.redcrossblood.com Blood center Geisinger Blood Center, the community blood services provider for Geisinger Health Systems in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, is asking donors to endure the brutal wintry conditions and donate blood over the next week. “First and foremost, we want our donors to be safe in these winter conditions and to visit us when they feel safe traveling,” says Mike Quint, Director, Geisinger Blood Center, “but we need more blood donations to rebuild our community blood supply to appropriate levels to ensure high-quality patient care.” Extreme conditions have impacted the area serviced by Geisinger Blood Center, prompting donors to miss scheduled visits at the blood bank’s mobile blood drives and community donor centers. “Winter weather is expected to continue to negatively impact our blood donations,” Quint adds. “Patient needs don’t change with the weather. That’s why we’re asking our donors to overcome the conditions and safely make their way to donate at one of our many mobile drives occurring throughout the Scranton/Wilkes Barre areas.” For a list of drive locations and hours, or to schedule a new appointment, visit geisingerbloodcenter.org Upcoming blood drives in the area Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 Grace Episcopal Church, 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., 827 Church Street, Honesdale Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 Beach Lake Free Methodist Church, 1 p.m.-6 p.m., 107 Milanville Road, Beach Lake Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 Hamlin Bingo, 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Route 590, Hamlin Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 Northern Wayne Fire Department, 10 a.m..-2 p.m. 1663 Crosstown Highway, Lakewood Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in PA), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.