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Fairbanks Blood Bank of Alaska seeks donation ahead of Labor Day weekend

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 3:39 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Blood bank of Alaska is facing a critical need for blood donations ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

According to Westley Dahlgren, Director of Collections and Recruitment with the Blood Bank of Alaska, their inventory is not in an ideal state heading into a holiday weekend. “We still are lower than we would like. The inventory levels are stable, but again they are a little lower than we would like. The unique thing about blood is that it has a shelf life, and more importantly, you know, traumas and things like that can really impact that overnight - so getting donors to consistently come in is really paramount, especially with the holiday weekend coming up. Hopefully donors can swing by and donate before the holiday, or even after the holiday, because if history is any indicator, blood usage around the holidays increases and donations decrease. So, even after the holidays would be a great time for donors to come in.”

Dahlgren explained that holidays can lead to an increase in the need for blood due to a variety of reasons. “Generally during holidays, people are out and about a lot more. So there’s an increase in potential for accidents, traumas, and things like that. Also it’s kind of a Catch-22 or a double-edged sword because when people are out, or because they’re out and about, they don’t necessarily come in and donate. Encouraging people to come in before holidays, and certainly after holidays is really important. Again, blood has a shelf life, so maintaining an adequate supply is really key to being able to supply the hospitals.”

Currently the most needed blood types are O- which is a universal donor used in trauma, along with A+ and O+ which are the most common blood types according to Dahlgren. ”O- in particular is always needed. But even again, O+ and A+, which are very common blood types... I believe roughly 70% of the population has those two blood types alone. O+, which is the most common blood type, 38 to 40% of the population has that blood type. That type is the most transfused blood type in hospitals. So even though it’s the most common, there’s always a need for that because it’s transfused at such a high rate.”

More information on donating blood can be found at the Blood Bank of Alaska’s website.

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