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2007 blood donations almost outpace 2006 total

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- Since Jan. 1, Warren has collected 214 blood unit donations to United Blood Services, an outstanding number compared to 346 units total for 2006.

Tom Nichols, United Blood Services representative to Warren, encouraged by the program, insisted that the smaller, more frequent drives are working.

"Warren is doing an outstanding job for the community. United Blood Services would like to extend a heartfelt thank you and 'outstanding job' to the Warren blood program, donors and volunteers," Mr. Nichols said.

Despite Warren's success, he encourages donors to keep giving because there will always be a need.

"In one accident during a snowstorm, a 4-year-old girl required the use of 16 units of O negative blood before medical personnel could get her blood typed," he explained. "To put this into perspective, that amount of O negative would take four to five blood drives to collect."

Nichols believes some of the blood that saved the girl's life came from Warren donors.
United Blood Services advises people to wait at least eight weeks between whole blood donations and 16 weeks between double red cell donations, and people should not worry about giving or receiving blood because each and every blood donation is screened for human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B and C, human T-lymphotrophic virus, West Nile virus, Chagas' disease and syphilis.

There are four types of blood: O, A, B and AB. Each has a positive or negative rhesus factor. Those with a positive RH factor contain a certain blood antigen, and those with a negative do not have the same antigen. Whatever antigen a person has does not affect their day-to-day life, the only time that it is important is when they are receiving a blood transfusion, which requires that not only the type of blood matches but also the RH factor. If not, the blood receiving the antigen will react to it, causing antibodies to attack the blood.

According to http://www.unitedbloodservices.org, the most common blood type is O positive at 37 percent followed by A positive at 34 percent. After those two types, however, the percentage drops to 10 or less. The least common blood type is AB negative encompassing only 1 percent of the population.