Much of the world is still grieving from the mass shooting in Orlando. Many still have unanswered questions and are wishing it never happened. Many of us were not there to help carry out the wounded, but there is something you can do to help those victims: donate your blood. United Blood Services reports being badly in need of blood.
"We need all types of blood types. We always need all types of blood types," said Justin Irish, a United Blood Service donor recruitment representative.
Irish said during summer months, the need for blood is greater.
He explained, "High schools make up about 20% of our donations, so we lose that in the summer, with people on vacation. And now we have the Zika virus."
Irish says they've experienced a two percent decrease in donations because of people traveling to Zika-infected countries. Now with the tragedy in Orlando, their need is greater—especially for blood Type O.
"About six percent of the population have O Negative blood type. That's the universal blood type—we call them liquid gold. So if you know you are O Negative, we want you in here, and we want your blood because your blood can be transfused into any patient."
Currently about five percent of the U.S. population donates, but Irish hopes to double that number. "We’re asking if you're not a regular donor, try it. Give it a shot. You'll feel better afterwards knowing you’re helping save somebody's life."
If you have been to a Zika-infected country, it takes seven to ten days for the virus to get out of your bloodstream, but United Blood Service staff have a 28-day rule.
United Blood Service staff ask that you call to make an appointment if you wish to donate blood. United Blood Service staff can ship blood to Orlando within 48 hours, so it can be used for the Orlando victims.