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Puget Sound Blood Center urges donations following heat wave

Blood donations are down thanks to the recent heat wave in the Puget Sound region. - Contributed photo/PSBC
Blood donations are down thanks to the recent heat wave in the Puget Sound region.
— image credit: Contributed photo/PSBC

Puget Sound Blood Center issued an appeal for donors today after collections began to dip sharply as a result of the ongoing heat wave. During the past week, more than a half dozen blood drives were suspended or cancelled as temperatures soared.

“During mobile drives at locations that don’t have climate-control, we suspend collections when ambient temperatures go above 80 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the comfort and well-being of our donors,” said Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Puget Sound Blood Center. ”Over the past week we lost an estimated 200 collections because of the heat.”

Drives disrupted by the heat wave typically take place in community centers or places of worship not equipped with air conditioning.

“We are already at the point where inventories of the most-needed blood types are falling below critical levels,” AuBuchon said. “With more hot days in the forecast we will face an emergency if donors do not come in and donate.”

It takes about 900 donors per day to maintain a sufficient blood supply for more than 80 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest served by PSBC.

To avoid a crisis PSBC is asking eligible donors to schedule an appointment at one of its 11 centers, or to find a drive in their community close to where they live or work. “Stay cool, support the community blood supply and enjoy a cookie and cold juice afterwards!” AuBuchon said. “That will get us through this supply shortage caused by the heat wave.”

Information about locations and times to give blood can be found at psbc.org. Appointments can be made online at schedule.psbc.org or by phone by calling 1-800-398-7888.

AuBuchon noted a special need for O-negative type blood – the universal type that can be transfused to any patient -- and for platelet donations.

PSBC joins other healthcare organizations in the region in urging everyone to keep well hydrated, use sunscreen and avoid strenuous activities during the heat of the day.

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