(BPT) - From surgeries to emergencies, life-saving therapeutics, and beyond, blood and plasma are essential for hospitals and health care centers to help patients. Unfortunately, experts report facilities throughout the country are facing critical shortages and are calling on more people — especially younger generations — to help by donating blood or plasma locally.
Why shortages? Supply down, demand up
There are many reasons why blood and plasma inventories have fallen so low. Thousands of blood drives, a primary outreach effort to collect this important resource, were canceled due to COVID-19. Additionally, U.S. hospitals have seen an increase in trauma cases requiring transfusions. Compared with 2019, the demand for blood at trauma centers has increased 10%, escalating the urgent need for blood donations.
Beyond current events, blood supplies in general are decreasing because the typical donor is aging and fewer young people are donating. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, donors age 45 and older account for 63% of the total blood collected from repeat donors, according to a McKinsey report. Older generations like the baby boomers, adults 57 and older, are aging out of the donor pool and first-time donors aren’t replacing them at adequate rates.
What are donations used for?
A plentiful blood and plasma supply is important not only for accidents and injuries, but for a host of medical procedures. It's needed for every demographic, from infant to elderly, and all races and ethnicities.
"Blood and plasma aren’t just used in emergencies. They are used to treat anything from injuries from a car accident to chronic illnesses like cancer to burn injuries. To ensure help is there when people need it, we have to have a stable supply of blood and plasma and the need has never been greater. We urgently need donors of all ages — and we need it now," said Dr. Alexander Carterson, head of medical, scientific and clinical affairs for Abbott’s diagnostics business.
Whether it's a one-time need, or for ongoing life-saving procedures, blood and plasma donations help make a difference for millions of Americans every year.
"One donation can save up to three lives and that’s truly amazing. We are committed to raising awareness about the need for blood donors so that people can live their best lives,” Carterson added.
Top 5 reasons to donate blood and plasma today:
While there are many reasons to donate blood or plasma, Carterson shares some top reasons you should consider today. Join the BE THE 1 movement and donate to be a part of the solution. Learn more about donation at www.bethe1donor.abbott.
Donors are aging out: Just four people out of every 100 who are able to donate blood currently do so. What's more, as older generations become unable to donate, younger generations are needed to take their place, but they haven’t yet stepped up to fill the void.
Donating is safe and simple: Whole blood donations take around 10 minutes and you can donate every 56 days. Plasma takes a bit longer and you can donate twice a week.
You make a difference: For each donation, you can save up to 3 lives and help build a healthier world. You can feel good about making a difference for others, and those positive feelings are something to be proud of.
Help many people: Donated blood and plasma helps millions of people each year. Just one example: Each year approximately 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion.
National shortages: The ongoing national blood shortage can only be solved through regular blood donations across age groups and especially by younger generations. Blood banks and plasma centers are located across the country, so take the first step and research locations near you.