August 25, 2009

August is ‘trauma month,’ donate blood

Officials of the New York Blood Center are urging Americans to save a life and plan to donate blood before the Labor Day weekend.

Summer is trauma season for most U.S. hospital emergency rooms because August has the highest number of vehicle collisions, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says.

Collision and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions. Throughout the year, every two seconds, someone needs blood, officials of the New York Blood Center say.

O-negative blood is needed immediately, but healthy people of all blood types and ethnicities are encouraged to donate now.

People with O-negative blood are known as universal donors because their blood can be transfused into anyone. Type O-negative blood is found in just 6 percent of the population, but is used more often by patients with other blood types, especially in emergency rooms and trauma situations, the blood center says.

One out of three people will need a life-saving blood transfusion in his or her lifetime, the center says.