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OneBlood Looking For Positive & Negative Donations

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Heading into the holiday weekend and the summer season, area blood banks are putting out the call for more donations. Supplies of both O-Negative and O-Positive blood are low across the region right now. Pat Michaels is a spokesperson for OneBlood, the blood center for Pensacola and the panhandle. "We want to make sure that we have a very strong blood supply. As you might know, blood donations may not be enough in some cases to keep up with demand. But it's our job as a blood center to make sure we have enough blood on the shelf for all of the hospitals and transfusions."

Michaels also says this year is not unique. The summer season is always challenging when it comes to blood donations. "It is a seasonal thing. We find right now as we head into Memorial Day that sets us off into the summer. And blood centers are always finding themselves in a situation where high schools are not in session, colleges and universities scale back considerably, and we have a good portion of our blood drives at high schools, colleges and universities."

Almost half the nation’s people have one of the two blood types that OneBlood is looking for. 37 percent of the population has O-Positive, seven percent have O-Negative.  And it’s the O-Negative that’s the most important. "It's the universal blood type. That means if a patient goes into the trauma unit or (is in) an emergency situation and we don't know their blood type, we would transfuse O-Negative to them. So it's a very unique blood type and certainly almost always needed. But right now, needed very, very much."

And again, that’s why OneBlood is putting out the word to everyone. "Anybody can give blood if they are 16 years (of age) or older. If you're in good (health) you can give blood. You can give blood if you're 100 years old if you're healthy."

Blood donations are taken most days at the OneBlood donation centers on Nine Mile Road and on Ninth Avenue in Pensacola. There are also blood drives this weekend at the Carmike Cinemas locations on W Street and on Bayou Blvd in Pensacola. Also at many Wal Mart locations around the area. Just look for the Big Red Bus. You can find other locations and make an appointment to give blood at their web site, OneBlood.org

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.