The winter months are hard for many things, blood donations included.
“Blood donations are already low due to COVID, now coupled with the cold and flu season bearing down on our blood donors; blood collections are taking a major hit," said Kami Mitchell, District Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth. "We usually have to have 200 units a day to keep our hospitals up to date."
Mitchell says they have 17 North Alabama hospitals that they supply 100% of the blood products for.
"When there is inclement weather, ice on the roads or roads are impassable; we see a lot less donations," she said.
In the summer time, there is a "summer slump" where blood supply is not where it needs to be. There is then an uptick in October and November but when the Christmas holidays approach, the slump comes back.
"People are traveling for the holidays and are spending time with their families and blood donations aren't on their minds," Mitchell continued. "Then towards the end of January, you can always write it down, we are always in an emergency need of blood. Due to donations not coming in as good in December. Another thing that is making it so difficult right now is the uptick that we usually see in October and November didn't happen last year. It's going to be hard the next couple of months."
Mitchell said the Delta variant also plays a roll in donations and donors. Certain businesses have also not been able to let them inside due to protocols.
"Businesses actually invite us in to do blood drives. We are at various plants all over Marshall County or we were," she said. "Now, a lot of the biggest plants have shut us out because of COVID. That made us take a hit when COVID first started. Then people got vaccinated and we were able to come back and then Omicron came and now we are shut back out again. I'm not here to scare anyone but we need to have blood on the shelves and we are facing a lot of adversity here."
If you would like to help donate the following drives are scheduled:
Wednesday, Jan 12: Marshall Medical South 7 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (donors will walk away with gift cards and be entered into a raffle)
Thursday, Jan 13 : Walmart-Guntersville - Hwy 431-10 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14: Bancorpsouth-Guntersville- Gunter Ave-10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 16: Walmart-Guntersville, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.