GF area is (o)verdr(a)wn at the blood bank
When it comes to blood donations at the Dak-Minn blood bank in Grand Forks, there's always a need. But, there are times -- particularly in summer months when there are more vehicle crashes -- when the need for a steady supply of blood becomes urg...
When it comes to blood donations at the Dak-Minn blood bank in Grand Forks, there's always a need.
But, there are times -- particularly in summer months when there are more vehicle crashes -- when the need for a steady supply of blood becomes urgent, according to Dak-Minn's donor resource coordinator Julie Jenson.
That time has hit Grand Forks, as a high number of surgeries at Altru Hospital have depleted some of the organization's blood supplies, Jenson said.
"Our inventory for O negative, O positive and A negative blood types is really low," Jenson said.
Don't worry, there's blood available for transfusions. And there's always the option to order blood from an outside source if necessary, Jenson said.
But, "we like to have it right here, readily available," she added.
The Dak-Minn blood bank is a nonprofit organization that provides blood, plasma and platelets to Altru.
Dak-Minn provides about 4,000 units of blood per year, which is about 350 to 400 pints of blood per month, Jenson said.
The donations can be given as a whole or can be separated to help people with different needs. For example, plasma and platelets can be extracted from blood, the first of which supplies nutrients to the body's tissues and is used for burn or shock victims. Platelets, the cells that plug small holes in vessels to help with clotting, provide help to cancer or leukemia patients.
Red blood cells, which take oxygen in the lungs and deliver it to all the body's tissues, are used in transfusions.
From start to finish, giving blood takes about an hour. They ask some questions about medical history, give a brief physical and then there's a comfy reclining chair and a television to watch as blood is drawn.
"It's pretty painless," Jenson said. "A little pressure, a little pinch."
If you are age 17 and older, you can donate, but anyone age 17 needs a parent to fill out a consent form. Donors should be healthy, with no cold or flu symptoms. A good night's rest and a light meal are recommended in the 24 hours before donating.
There are very few medications that would make a person incapable of giving blood, Jenson said. And people afflicted with high blood pressure or diabetes can donate, as long as their conditions are under control.
People who have hepatitis or HIV cannot donate. All donations are screened for disease, Jenson said.
Donors have an extra incentive this month, as Dak-Minn will be giving free cholesterol checks throughout August, Jenson said.
"Come with a friend; there's free donuts and coffee," she said. "Make it part of your schedule; that way, it's easier to keep the habit."
Reach Nadeau at (701) 780-1118; (800) 477-6572, ext. 118; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .