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MS Blood Services in need of donations, reaching “crisis level” inventory

photo courtesy of the Mississippi Blood Services

Mississippi Blood Services needs your help as they are reaching “crisis level” inventory across the state. Hospitals across Mississippi are feeling the effects of a shortage brought on by the holiday season, and this has resulted in a 25 percent decrease in donors. Communications manager Emily Austin says that while shortages around this time of year are not uncommon; this year has been particularly low.

Hospitals across Mississippi are feeling the effects of a shortage brought on by the holiday season, and this has resulted in a 25 percent decrease in donors. Communications manager Emily Austin says that while shortages around this time of year are not uncommon; this year has been particularly low.

“Every year we see a shortage around the holidays, but this year we saw a huge shortage,” Austin said. Breaking that down into units; we’re seeing nearly 1,000 fewer units than what we need in order to service our hospitals. What that means is, our shelves are nearly empty.”

As far as how many people could be saved from those 1,000 units, Austin said that it could help nearly 3,000 patients. She urged anyone who is able to donate to do so as soon as possible because you never know when it will be needed.

“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.”

The crisis extends well beyond Mississippi, and but as the number of donors decreases, Austin reiterated that will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that the inventory across the state reaches its normal levels.

“It’s statewide and a nationwide crisis right now, but we are going to do everything we can to get the blood that our hospitals need. We have fixed sites in Flowood, Oxford and Greenville to reach our donors, and we also do community blood drives throughout the state. We have anywhere from 10-12 mobile drives throughout the state every day,” Austin said.

Austin said that the general rule of thumb is that if you are feeling well and aren’t taking any medications, you can donate. Flu season is upon us and Austin says that has hurt their supply as well. If you have had the flu and want to donate, you need to be symptom-free for 48 hours and off of antibiotics for 48 hours as well.

All blood and platelet types, especially O-negative are needed, and to make an appointment call 601-981-3232.

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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