Blood supplies often decline during the summer months, and a regional blood center says it has only a one-day supply of several blood types on hand. LifeServe blood center in Des Moines says it tries to keep more than a three-day supply on hand for the more than 100 hospitals it serves in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
The blood types with less than a two-day supply are: O positive and negative, AB positive and negative, and A negative. Life Serve has about a two-to-three day supply of A positive and B negative.
Christine Hayes with LifeServe says blood donations usually dip during the summer because of vacations, holidays and summer activities. Unfortunately, she says, need for blood increases during the summer months. And, she says, the donor pool may be even smaller this summer.
It will be affected by, “…the prevalence of the Zika virus and the requirements of people that have traveled outside of the country or in certain Zika endemic areas.”
Iowans returning from countries with Zika-infected mosquitoes, or who have had contact with people who have recently visited those countries must wait four weeks to donate.
Summer is not only a time when donations decline, it’s also a time when the demand for blood increases. And, Hayes says, she and others in the industry are worried about the nation’s blood supply, should a major incident happen.
“In the event of a national tragedy or even a tragedy happening right here in our own state we would have enough blood supply to treat immediate patients but would be in a situation where we would really be relying on other locations to help us,” she says.
In Iowa City, the DeGowin Blood Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics also encourages people who are able to donate to do so, as its supplies also decline during the summer.