On Jan. 22, the Hastings College football team, Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and American Red Cross worked together once again to host the annual January blood drive. The drive took place in the Hazelrigg Student Union, rooms A and B, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Both whole blood and red blood cell drawings, which the Red Cross calls “Power Reds,” were drawn at the drive. If someone meets the health criteria to do a Power Red drawing, their whole blood is mechanically separated to isolate the red blood cells from the remaining components of the blood. Those components are returned to the donator with added saline, allowing two units of red blood cells to be given at one time.
Red-only transfusions are especially important to those who have lost a large amount of blood and need to have stabilized iron levels. Plasma and platelet donations are not given at blood drives, but whole blood donations can be later separated into the individual components.
Donations collected at blood drives are usually sent out through contracts held by the local Red Cross until those contracts are full.
“Our shelves are empty, so we’re working hard to try to build that supply back up,” said Red Cross Team Supervisor Stephanie Bader.
According to the Red Cross guidelines in most states people over the age of 16 can qualify to give whole blood donations, and most people older than 17 can give platelet and AB elite plasma donations. Power Red donations have stricter criteria, dependent on the age, weight and gender of the donor. Travel history, medications and iron deficiencies are a few factors that could disqualify potential donors.
According to Bader, giving blood is vital for ensuring the health of those who are victims in accidents or who need transfusions during surgery.
“We hear of tragedy every day, we all know somebody who had to get blood. It’s a small world, and the need is great,” Bader said.
It is important for every healthy qualifying person to consider giving any type of blood. For those considering donating blood, it is crucial to stay hydrated and eat a good, full meal a few hours before donating, both to make the blood drawing process easier and to alleviate feelings of nausea while the body replenishes the removed blood.
“I always tell people to start pushing water the day before, and when I say push water I don’t mean just one bottle of water. Six to eight glasses, keep it up all day, and when you wake up in the morning, eat a big breakfast,” Bader said.