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Critical Shortages Highlight Importance of National Blood Donor Month

Posted on Jan 20, 2022 by Colleen Holtkamp

1 blood donation can save up to 3 lives

The blood supply in the United States is facing unprecedented challenges. News headlines are indicating the nation’s blood supply is hanging by a thread, and hospitals in some areas are almost completely out of blood. The current situation drives home the critical need for blood donations and the importance of recognizing blood donors for their generosity in sharing this life-saving resource.

COVID-19 has disrupted blood collections throughout the pandemic, and the situation continues to worsen. Many blood drives that normally take place at schools and workplaces have been put on hold for almost two years or have had lower yields than pre-pandemic collection events. The current stage of the pandemic means that more people are unable to donate due to COVID-19 exposures or illness. Winter weather has also had a negative impact on collections.

More than 50 years ago, the president of the United States signed a proclamation designating January as National Blood Donor Month (NBDM). The month of January was selected because it has consistently been one of the most challenging times for blood centers to collect enough to meet demand. This monthlong observance is intended to honor volunteer donors and to encourage people to donate at a time of year when more blood is always needed.

Throughout the pandemic, hospitals have been managing their blood inventories carefully. However, some hospitals have already been forced to modify treatments or cancel surgeries for patients due to blood supply challenges. Blood donations are urgently needed to help avoid additional postponements of potentially lifesaving treatments. It can take up to three days for blood to be tested, processed, and distributed, which means it’s critical to maintain a steady flow of donations so that blood products can be ready when they are needed.

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During National Blood Donor Month, and all throughout the year, Helmer Scientific would like to express our appreciation for the generosity of blood donors. We would also like to convey our gratitude to the staff involved in collecting, processing, and transfusing blood therapies to treat patients and save lives.

The dramatic rise in the Omicron variant of COVID-19 means fewer donors are available to give blood. To make up for this shortfall, the blood bank community encourages anyone feeling healthy to make an appointment and give. Find out where to donate blood in your community, and call or visit their website to schedule an appointment.

Where To Donate Blood »

Image Credit: AABB

Colleen Holtkamp

Written by Colleen Holtkamp

Helmer designs, manufactures, and markets specialized medical and laboratory equipment to customers in more than 125 countries. With an extensive background in Helmer products, Colleen’s focus is on the Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank segments.

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