Hispanic Heritage month highlights need for Type O Blood

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Press release from the American Red Cross:

Hispanic Heritage Month Highlights need for Type O Blood
Annual observance began September 15, runs through October 15

Hispanic individuals have a special gift to give. As America’s largest growing ethnic group, about 60 percent of Hispanics have type O blood. During Hispanic Heritage Month the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean are celebrated. In that time the American Red Cross hopes to raise awareness of the need for type O blood donors and donors with diverse backgrounds.

“By far, Hispanics are the single largest group of people with type O blood,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “That represents a tremendous opportunity for this group of individuals to help build a safe and adequate blood supply for their family, friends and communities.”

Hospitals use type O negative blood in most emergency trauma cases when there is not enough time to determine a patient’s blood type. And while type O negative can be safely transfused to anyone, type O positive blood can be transfused to patients with positive blood types—or about 80 percent of the population. While all blood types are needed, Red Cross officials say there is a continuing need for donations from type O donors.

“In fact, more than half of all blood supplied to hospitals is type O,” said Whitman. “As our Hispanic population increases, so will the need for type O blood. We simply need more people of diverse backgrounds to become blood donors today.”

Blood type, like eye color, is an inherited trait. About 60 percent of the Hispanic population is type O, compared to 45 percent of Caucasians and 50 percent of African Americans. Hispanics currently make up 14 percent of the U.S. population at 42.7 million people. If you would like to join in the celebration, stop by a blood drive in your community and donate blood today.

Click here to see a list of upcoming American Red Cross blood drives in your area.

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