Extreme heat wave threatens local blood supply

(WOIO) - The American Red Cross Northern Ohio Blood Services Region continues its appeal for blood donors because of a new threat from the current heat wave.  Because of extremely high temperatures many people who would otherwise come to donate blood are staying away.

"Heat advisory warnings may be forcing many who are sensitive or vulnerable in these weather conditions to stay indoors," said Christy Chapman, Communications Manager for the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region.  "However, those who are able to join us will be glad to know our blood drives are comfort-controlled when it comes to temperature. So you can beat the heat, enjoy a refreshing drink and feel good about helping save a life.  I'll even go so far as to say it's 'cool' to give blood!"

All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient. The need for blood is constant, even in cases of extreme weather.

As temperatures and humidity levels soar, protecting yourself and others from overheating is critical to avoid a potential heat-related illness. Here are some easy tips for staying safe during heat waves, courtesy of Dr. David Markenson, chair, American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.

  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day – even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol that dehydrate the body.
  • Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing in layers. Avoid dark colors that absorb the sun's rays.
  • If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks to hydrate and cool yourself. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Protect your self from sun exposure even on cloudy or hazy days. In addition to dressing for heat, apply a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and reapply as indicated, wear eye protection (wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection) and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check in on the elderly, young children and pets to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.