Forty-day, 100-plus-degree weather is severely affecting Carter BloodCare’s ability to maintain a sufficient blood supply in the 57-county area it serves. The need for blood transfusions continues and patients await those treatments daily. The current blood supply is well below preferred levels to support patient needs in the community; due, in part, to the nearly record-breaking stint of consecutive sweltering days.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations speak to temperature levels that must be maintained in the environments where we collect blood, including buses, indoor facilities, and also in Carter BloodCare’s 26 donor centers. Individual supplies we use also come with manufacturers’ requirements on what temperature must be maintained while using it,” said Michelle Stefan, vice president of Corporate and Community Resources for Carter BloodCare.
The heat negatively affects the temperature inside Carter BloodCare’s fleet of buses that sit in the sun for hours during a blood drive, while generators work to maintain a comfortable environment for both donors and equipment. Additionally, at indoor blood drives, companies struggle to maintain a temperature that is compatible with blood drive regulations as their cooling systems work against triple-digit temperatures. The drives held before noon are more successful than those conducted in the afternoon hours, but 46 blood drives have been cancelled or stopped early because the relentless heat made it impossible to maintain regulatory control.
“We’re accustomed to seeing fewer donors during the summer, due to vacations and general busyness. However, this summer presents additional challenges with record-setting temperatures affecting our operations,” said Brandye Norman, director of Mobile Collections for Carter BloodCare in North Texas.
Without additional volunteer blood donors, the blood supply will not be sustainable if the current weather pattern continues. If you are eligible to give blood, please visit carterbloodcare.org or call 1-800-DONATE-4 to locate the nearest donor center and make an appointment to give blood. All blood types are needed. If you are not eligible to give blood, invite someone you know to do so.
Potential blood donors can be 16 years old with a parent’s consent; 17-year-olds may donate independently and there is no upper age limit. All donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good general health and present a photo ID. Ideally, a donor should also eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before giving blood. For more information about donor eligibility, call Carter BloodCare at 1-800-DONATE-4 or visit carterbloodcare.org.