Knowing Your Blood Type Can Be Vital to Medical Care

By: American Red Cross Last Updated: July 2, 2010

You may not realize it, but you could be the lifesaving type. RedCrossLogo

Blood typing is vital to medical care, says the American Red Cross, particularly during emergencies when every second counts.

There are times when someone needs blood immediately to help save their life,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “Not only is it important for blood to be available, it’s also crucial that the patient receive the same or a compatible type.”

Type O negative, for instance, is the blood type medical providers transfuse in most emergency situations when the patient’s blood type is unknown. And that, Red Cross officials say, is why type O negative is the blood most requested by hospitals. Other types in high demand include type O positive, which can be transfused to patients with all positive blood types—or about 80 percent of the population. Type B blood is also in high demand and can be subject to seasonal shortfalls.

Regardless of your blood type, someone needs what you can give,” said Whitman “Every day, hospital patients need about 39,000 units of blood to attend to ongoing or emergency medical needs ranging from cancer care to surgery to automobile accidents.

First-time donors through the American Red Cross will find out their blood type within a few short weeks of blood donation. Donors receive an ID card with their name and blood type, which can be presented the next time they come to give through a Red Cross blood drive.

Sometimes, our donors like to ascribe certain personality characteristics to certain blood types,” said Whitman, “But whether you’re type A, B, O or AB, when you roll up your sleeve, you become the giving type, and show you’re someone who cares about the well-being of others.”

UPCOMING AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES IN YOUR AREA:

  • Friday, July 16, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Harley-Davidson, located at 1151 U.S. Highway 30 in Valparaiso. Please call 462-2223 to schedule your blood donation appointment.
  • Wednesday, July 21, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Duneland Falls Banquet Center, located at 1100 N. Max Mochal Highway in Chesterton. This blood drive is sponsored by USW 6787. Come to donate and receive an American Red Cross stadium seat cushion.
  • Thursday, July 22, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Central Baptist Church in the gymnasium, located at 704 West 700 North in Hobart. This is a Power in the Blood interfaith initiative which aims to bring together groups of all beliefs to help the community maintain the supply of donated blood.
  • Friday, July 23, from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the YMCA, located at 3100 Willowcreek Road in Portage. Come to donate and receive an American Red Cross stadium seat cushion. Please email Steve.Beach@porterhealth.com to schedule your blood donation appointment.
  • Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at South Haven Fire Department in the Community Room, located at 398 West 700 North in Valparaiso.
  • Tuesday, July 27, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at The Gathering Place in the Meeting Room, located at 131 N. Main St. in Hebron.
  • Wednesday, July 28, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, located at 753 N. Calumet in Valparaiso.
  • Thursday, July 29, from 12 noon until 6 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in the Meeting Hall, located at 106 East 1100 North in Chesterton.
  • Friday, July 30, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Portage in the Fellowship Hall, located at 2637 McCool Road in Portage.

How to Donate Blood
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

About the American Red Cross
The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in more than 60 hospitals. In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.