Blood Shortage

With 38 percent of the U.S. population able to donate blood and less than 10 percent actually donating, the blood shortage has thankfully not affected Maryville. Even with this stroke of luck, community members and students who can donate blood should still do it.

While Maryville residents’ blood supply comes from the St. Joseph, Missouri, Community Blood Center and we haven’t seen any major effects of the shortage, the need for blood donations is always present.

With the CBC requiring 580 donors every weekday to keep the supply up, any fluctuation could mean the difference between just enough and falling short. But with statistics like one out of seven people who visit the hospital require blood, supplies must be continually replenished. Especially with blood having a limited shelf life.

Technology has advanced significantly, but the need for blood donors will always be there since we cannot manufacture synthetic blood.

We should look to donate blood whenever we can because the requirements to donate blood must be followed every time for the safety of people receiving the blood transfusion and those donating.

These qualifiers for blood donation can oftentimes be the reason people cannot donate.

According to Mayo Clinic, the restrictions range from the donor getting a tattoo within the past 12 months, living or visiting the United Kingdom within the last three months or living in Europe for five years or more. This also includes men who have had intercourse with another man within the past 12 months.

With conditions like this, many people are eliminated either permanently or at least temporarily, creating a much smaller pool. So donating whenever a blood drive comes around or even at the CBC in St. Joseph can easily contribute to the blood shortage.

The benefits of those who do donate blood go beyond people’s morals and can actually make them healthier. According to the Journal of Blood Medicine, annually donating blood can lower both cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps reduce heart disease.

This also removes oxidants and decreases oxidative stress according to the Journal of Basic Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology.

While all blood types are needed, the rarest blood types are type O-negative and AB-positive plasma.

Type O-negative red cells can be given to patients of all blood types which means it is in high demand. But only about 7 percent of people have this blood type, making it in short supply.

Type AB-positive plasma is the blood type that can be transfused to patients of all blood types. Like type O-negative, only a small percent of people actually have this rare type. They only account for 3 percent.

Being short in supply of blood is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean we can idly sit around waiting for others to donate.

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