Bad weather puts damper on blood drives; donors needed

(Birmingham, AL)- The recent winter weather has impacted blood collections in the Birmingham area. The freezing rain, sleet and snow resulted in more than 470 units of blood that could not be collected due to blood donation center closures, canceled blood drives and the inability of donors to attend blood drives. 

Donors are encouraged to donate as soon as possible after conditions have improved enough to allow for safe travel. There is a special need for type O and type B blood donors.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to schedule an appointment.  The need for blood is constant—it doesn't stop because of weather.

Because blood can be separated into three components – blood, platelets and plasma – one donation can benefit up to three individuals. Because it takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency. If everyone who was eligible would donate four times a year, there would never be a blood shortage.

If you plan on giving blood, make sure to prepare yourself for the process. Double your fluid intake in the 48 hours leading up to the drive. Make sure to eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as the day of, the blood drive. Eat iron-rich foods such as lean beef, broccoli, eggs, greens, shrimp or dried beans. Also consume foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Make sure to get a good night's sleep before the drive.

All presenting volunteer donors in the months of January, February and March will be entered into a regional drawing for one of two pairs of round-trip tickets on Delta Air Lines as part of the "Help Save Lives and Take to the Skies" promotion.