Editor’s Note: This article in an updated version of an article that ELi published on April 17, 2020. Given the national shortage of blood donations, the editorial team found it appropriate to revisit this story.
As the Omicron variant surged across the United States and Michigan in January, the Red Cross announced its first-ever Blood crisis, calling it “its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care.” Stockpiles of blood still remain low now.
Although blood donations have dropped by ten percent during the pandemic and drives have been canceled due to staff contracting Covid, many options exist in our area for giving blood.
On Jan. 28, 2022, Edgewood United Church held a blood drive, and the slots available closed more than a week in advance.
On Jan 17, ELi spoke over email with Ada Kidd, who has organized blood drives at Edgewood for about ten years.
“Why donate?” wrote Kidd to ELi. “A blood donation can save three lives if separated into red cells, platelets and plasma. Blood is essential to help people survive surgery, illnesses and injuries. It is called the ‘Gift of Life.’”
Dr. Nigel Paneth, an MSU physician and epidemiologist, told ELi in April 2020 that donated blood often assists people in surgeries and those who suffered accidents. It is also necessary to help mothers who lose significant blood during childbirth. Shortages of blood put these people at risk.
Kidd and the Edgewood community have continued to host blood drives throughout the pandemic, as ELi reported in April 2020. At that time, places of worship were closed, but Kidd said then that the church decided to open its doors since blood drives save lives.
Kidd also provided useful advice for anyone considering giving blood during this time of shortage. Donors should drink fluids like water and juice, avoid diuretics like coffee, and eat iron-rich foods. This ensures that hemoglobin levels are high enough to qualify for a donation and keeps donors from fainting.
According to Sparrow Spokesperson John Foren, Sparrow’s blood supply became critically low a few weeks ago, but the supply is currently better.
“Our supply is good at this time and we will continue to maintain a process to collect whole blood to support our Trauma Services,” said Foren to ELi over email.
Those interested in donating blood can find out when and where they can help through the Lansing Red Cross.
This article was updated on Feb. 10, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. to reflect additional information from Sparrow.