Monday, June 30, 2014

Giving Blood: Crucial during Summer Months

Next Wednesday, June 2nd, is a chance for people attending the ASP (Advanced Studies Program at St. Paul’s School) to help people in need and donate blood. The donation center is located in the front lobby of the Athletic and Fitness center.

When asked why he donates blood, Aaron Svendson declared “I do it to save lives”, and maybe you should think about doing it for that reason too.

Blood drives are an easy and important way to contribute to society, however, many people in our community do not donate. The reasons for why people do not donate varied greatly. Emily Harris said she is “not able to due to the weight restriction”, while Molly Hamilton, said whenever the chance to donate was available to her, she “had a sports game that day.”

However, two people gave unexpected reasons responding that they would be unable to donate blood due to the fact that they had acquired lyme disease.

hours_attached.gifLyme disease is a bacteria spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks. New Hampshire has its highest ever occurrence of lyme disease this year; 60% of deer ticks sampled in NH are infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The most prevalent time for ticks to be out in NH is in the spring. Although NH has its highest occurrence of lyme disease, it is still only in the moderate dark pink area on the above map.

In addition, fewer people donate blood in the summer, leading me to ask the question: do people being diagnosed with lyme disease in the spring have an effect on the number of blood donations in the summer? In order to donate blood, people must go through a small physical at the donation center first. In the physical, the staff views medical histories and a blood sample. If the test comes back that a person has lyme disease or had lyme disease, they become unable to donate. People are being diagnosed with lyme disease in the spring and donations for blood go down during the Summer, leading to the thought that people who donate regularly, may acquire lyme disease in the spring and then they can no longer donate their blood.

Blood collection centers are in need of blood donations, and they need help to make up for the regular donors who have been diagnosed with lyme disease and have become ineligible to donate. People who donate blood and enjoy doing so, should also be aware of how to avoid obtaining lyme disease. Below is a chart showing the probability of a person getting lyme disease according to how long the tick was attached.
Despite all our medical advances,  no good man-made substitute for human blood has been found- this is why blood donations are so important. With so many people in NH obtaining lyme disease in the spring it is especially important for those who have safe blood to donate during the Summer months as the demand for blood stays steady at 41,000 blood donation needed every day.

So, please be careful during deer tick season and donate blood in the summer.


  1. Meaghan,
    This is so informative. You have a lot of good numbers that are strategically combined with emotional quotes. It makes the whole piece really come together. I know a lot of people are scared of giving blood/don't see why it's so important, so I think you've successfully exposed the ASP community to another side of blood donation. Great job.
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. Meaghan,
    I learned so much from this article! I loved how you used graphs and images to depict your point. I had no clue that Lyme disease played such a critical role in the statistics regarding blood donation. The quotes you included reached a wide demographic, helping readers to connect more easily. Great article!

  3. Sources used