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April 3, 1997

Blood drive scheduled for April 8

Pitt's staff blood drive will be April 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the galleria area of Forbes Quadrangle and on the 15th floor of the Biomedical Science Tower.

Appointments are available by calling Staff Association Council (SAC) program and planning committee chairperson Gwen Watkins at 383-1628. Although appointments are preferred, walk-ins also will be accepted.

Donors are especially needed after major holidays, Sue Barclay of the Central Blood Bank told SAC at its March meeting, because most people are too busy to donate at such times.

Barclay also filled in SAC on the procedures for donating blood, starting with the fact that it does not hurt.

"Some people feel a slight pinch, but most don't feel a thing," Barclay said.

The body contains 10-12 pints of blood. Donors give less than one pint, according to Barclay. It generally takes 5-12 minutes to make a donation; a person can donate every 56 days.

The minimum age for donating is 17. There is no maximum age limit. A person also must weight at least 103 pounds and be in generally good health.

In the past, some people were not allowed to donate blood because they were on medication. That is no longer the case, according to Barclay. Most medicines, including those for high blood pressure and allergies, are acceptable and will not disqualify a person from donating blood, she said.

Individuals who cannot donate blood include those who have tested positive for hepatitis or jaundice of unknown cause after age 11; have had a malignancy other than skin cancer within the past 10 years; are intravenous drug users not under a doctor's care or are at risk for AIDS.

A person may be temporarily barred from donating blood because of the flu, a sore throat, a fever, an infection or disease requiring prescribed medication, having had mononucleosis with the past six months or a blood transfusion within the past year.

Individuals also may be barred from making a donation if they have been pregnant within the past six weeks or have had a sexually transmitted disease in the past year.

The donation process begins with registration, during which information such as a person's name and address is taken. That is followed by a mini-physical, including temperature, pulse and blood pressure.

After the physical, a drop of blood is taken from the donor and tested to determine if the donor is anemic, then the donor's medical history is privately reviewed. All information is strictly confidential.

A snack and beverage is served to replace the volume of liquid lost during the donation. After 15 minutes, the donor can return to his or her job.

–Mike Sajna

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