Canadian Blood Services is calling on regular donors — and looking for new ones — to alleviate a blood shortage in Nova Scotia.
Paul Doucet, spokesman for the agency in Halifax, said there are several variables that have led to the current shortage.
"It depends on demand at the hospital, it depends on where we are with our collections. Certainly the summer time and busy times of the year, like back to school, make it more challenging for us to collect, especially when it comes to O neg," Doucet said.
"O neg is our constant battle. We're trying to collect all blood types, but O negative products are particularly valuable in that they can be used for anyone."
Doucet said the shortage is not a crisis, but the agency is encouraging people to donate.
According to the Canadian Blood Services, dozens of donations are required to save one accident victim.
Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec have established basic criteria blood donors must meet before they can give blood:
Be between 17 and 71 years old to be a regular donor (17 to 61 to be a first-time donor).
Weigh at least 50 kg (110 pounds).
Be in general good health and feeling well when you donate.
Complete a screening questionnaire.
Certain people are not allowed to donate at all. They include:
People who lived in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger and Nigeria who may have been exposed to a new strain of HIV.
People who received a blood transfusion while visiting those countries or who have had sex with someone who lived there.
People who spent three months or more in Britain or France between 1980 and 1996. They may have been exposed to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
All men who have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977. CBS argues that statistics show men who have sex with men are at greater risk for HIV/AIDS infection than other people.
Anyone who has taken illegal drugs intravenously.
If you've recently had part of your body tattooed or pierced, you're also excluded as a blood or bone marrow donor, but for only six months. If you've given blood and want to donate again, you have to wait at least 56 days.