Start 2010 in a bloody good way

THE Bundaberg Blood Service is asking residents to kick off the new year in the right vein.

Community relations officer Joanna Nicolson said during the festive season, the service faced an increased demand from trauma patients needing transfusions, while there was a need to keep up supplies for people undergoing treatment for cancer and blood disorders.

Only one in 30 Australians donates blood, while more than one in three will need blood some time during their life.

“To keep up our blood supplies, we need 220 donations a week in a combination of whole blood and plasma,” she said.

Ms Nicolson said not everybody could donate blood, so it was important that people who could made the effort and kept the free service available to those who needed it.

Part of the problem was the short shelf life of blood and some of its products.

Whole blood can be kept for up to 43 days, but platelets – cells extracted from the blood that help with clotting and repairing damaged tissue – cannot be stored in the fridge and last for only five days.

This meant the blood service relied on a steady stream of donors to keep up its supplies.

“Platelets are our biggest problem during the festive season,” Ms Nicolson said.

Platelets can be used during chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, major surgery and to control haemorrhaging, often in children with leukaemia.

Ms Nicolson said there was a growing demand for blood products because of the ageing population and because medical technology kept coming up with new developments and treatments.

The blood service expected the demand for blood and blood products to double in the next 10 years.

In a bid to fill the blood-donating gap caused by the festive season long weekends, the Bundaberg Blood Service will be open for donations tomorrow morning from 9am to 12.30pm.

The service is normally open for whole blood donations on Mondays and Tuesday from 1pm to 7.30pm, on Wednesdays from 7.30am to 1pm, on Thursdays from 9.30am to 11.30am, and on the first Saturday of the month from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Plasma can be donated on Mondays and Tuesday from 7.30am to noon, on Wednesday from 2pm to 7pm, on Thursdays from noon to 7.30pm and on the first Saturday of the month from 8.30am to 11am.



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