Department of Health Stresses Importance and Need for Blood Donations

ALLENTOWN, PA — Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine recently joined officials from Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Miller-Keystone Blood Center to highlight the importance of donating blood, as the number of volunteers who regularly donate blood typically decreases during the winter months.

“With various illnesses preventing some donors from giving and winter weather affecting the scheduling of blood drives, there is a critical shortage of blood across the country,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Blood is essential for surgeries, traumatic injuries, cancer treatment and chronic illnesses, which is why it is so important for individuals to go to their local blood bank or find a blood drive near them and donate. An adequate supply of blood is essential to ensure Pennsylvanians have safe, continuous access to the highest quality of health care.”

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Blood donations are a critical and integral part of medical care. Most patients who have major surgeries will have a blood transfusion to replace any blood lost during their procedure. Blood transfusions are also used for patients who have serious injuries from car crashes or natural disasters, and people with illnesses that cause anemia, like leukemia or kidney disease, will often receive blood transfusions.

Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the United States. The type of blood most commonly requested and used by hospitals is type O. Type O blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type, which is why it is often used in emergencies when there is not enough time to determine a patient’s blood type.

All blood types are needed to make sure there is a reliable supply for patients. You are eligible to donate in Pennsylvania if you are:

  • In good health;
  • 16 years old or older; and
  • Weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.
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For more information on blood donation, visit the Department of Health’s website at

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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