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Mississippi Blood Services facing shortage

Mississippi Blood Services needs your help.

The organization is dealing with a shortage and they’re in need of several types of blood, according to Marketing & Communications Manager Emily Austin.

“We are short on B+, O+, and O-, and we are actually running short on platelets right now,” she said.

Photo courtesy of MS Blood Services

The shortage is the result of hospitals increasing their orders, and they are coming off of a critical shortage following the holiday season along with the extreme winter weather. Austin says that one person’s blood donation can save up to three patients.

“One whole unit can be used to help three different patients. That’s why we say ‘when you give one, you save three.’”

Platelets are used for cancer patients, burn victims and others in serious need, but the shelf-life of donated platelets is just five days. Austin says this makes the need for donors more critical to ensure platelets are available when a patient needs them.

Back in January when the origination was dealing with their “crisis level” shortage, Austin stressed the importance of having stocked shelves.

“The time to have the blood on the shelves is before a crisis,” Austin said.” “When you donate it takes 24-48 hours to turn that unit around and have it available to go out to the hospitals. We need to keep the shelves stocked and keep the blood levels current in order for what may happen tomorrow.”

If you want to donate, there are plenty of places to do so. Three fixed locations exist in Flowood, Oxford and Greenville and mobile blood drives occur each day across the state.

You can find your nearest donation center or mobile blood drive on the Mississippi Blood Services mobile app. For more information on blood donation, visit www.msblood.com/donate/.

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