Dire need for blood in Nevada | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dire need for blood in Nevada

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

By Gregory Crofton

Tribune staff writer

United Blood Services, desperate for donors in Nevada because of the impact of a flu outbreak, plans to collect blood Thursday at Stateline.

The nonprofit agency typically relies on students for blood this time of year, but about 50 percent of the those normally willing to donate are opting not to because they’re run down with the flu or at home sick, said Missy Eason, community relations representative for United Blood Services at Reno.

To combat the problem, Eason is trying to get the word out that people who take prescription drugs can give blood.

“Most people think because they are taking a medication like a hormone or have been diagnosed with a health condition like high blood pressure they are automatically disqualified,” Eason said.

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What does disqualify someone is using antibiotics or heart medication. But medicines such as Lipitor, to treat high cholesterol, or Atenolol, to treat blood pressure, do not prevent someone from giving, Eason said.

Type O, the type of blood commonly used in hospital emergency rooms, is needed most. As of last week, Reno-area hospitals had enough to last only a few days.

“A pileup on the highway or some other emergency could put the blood supply in serious trouble,” said Alana Ladd-Ross, community relations director. “In many emergency situations, hospitals must use type O until a patient is stabilized and their blood type is determined.”

Barton Memorial Hospital says it has more than an adequate supply of blood in case a winter storm hits and blocks the road to Sacramento, where its blood comes from. But, in general, the holiday season is always a good time to give blood because hospitals get busy and so do people. People often don’t make the time to donate because of their hectic schedules, said Aimee Morales, spokeswoman for Barton.

BloodSource, a nonprofit agency based in California, has four blood drives a year at the South Lake Tahoe branch of the El Dorado County Library. The most recent drive was last week.

For more information about BloodSource, go to http://www.bloodsource.org or call Pat Amundson at (530) 544-4456.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com