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UT Medical Center, MEDIC urging blood platelet donations due to national shortage

According to a press release, the shortage is expected to last through the holidays and into early next year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Medical Center and MEDIC are urging blood platelet donations due to national shortage.

Platelets are one of the essential blood components MEDIC provides to local hospitals, officials said.

According to a press release, the shortage is expected to last through the holidays and into early next year because donations during the holidays are historically low.

Platelet donors can potentially donate up to twice per week for a total of 24 times per year, while red blood cell donors can only donate every 56 days, officials said.

Officials said that all blood types and those who have never been pregnant can donate platelets with no additional testing. However, females who have been previously pregnant require a blood test for HLA antibodies prior to being a platelet donor.

Do not donate if you are or have been recently pregnant and ensure you have not taken aspirin 48 hours before, officials said. It takes 2-2 ½ hours to donate platelets.

Officials recommend people interested in donating to eat a low-fat meal beforehand and bring a blanket as saline might make you feel cold.