Blood banks' needs changing, say specialists

The need for blood is higher during the summer months. (Source: WAFF file)
The need for blood is higher during the summer months. (Source: WAFF file)

MADISON, AL (WAFF) - Nicole Nix is a phlebotomist at LifeSouth, but on the day we met her, she was also a donor.

"I've seen the need, but my grandmother has also received quite a bit of blood," said Nix. "She goes in probably every two to three weeks and gets one to two units of blood."

She said her grandmother is very anemic. Nicole is donating platelets - and that is a little more time-consuming than whole blood. The idea is to meet the need. There are some blood types that are plentiful. But there are other areas that are sorely needed.

Tamara Watts is the District Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. She says those "needs" are changing.

"O-negative is always in great need because that's a universal donor...and also the AB plasma, due to some recent changes," said Watts. "We are looking for male donors or women who have not given birth to come out and donate AB plasma. That's also a universal donor."

In June and July, blood donations are low, according to Watts.

"Primarily people are on vacation. Almost 30 percent of our donor base is age 17 - 26, and that's high school students and college age students, and they're gone," she said.

She said they get help over the summer from community partners. "Like our corporations and our businesses. They do represent the largest proportion of our donor volunteers."

Watts says they supply 12 hospitals in 10 counties in North Alabama, so the need is great.

She says you need to weigh more than 110 pounds, be healthy. Eat a good meal and make certain you are hydrated. Also she says bring a picture ID.  The process takes about 30 minutes.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.