Friday, June 29, 2012

American Red Cross Issues Emergency Call for Blood Donors Now

The American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June. This shortfall leaves the Red Cross with half the readily available blood products on hand now than this time last year.

The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors – now more than ever – to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer.

An unseasonably early start to spring may be a contributing factor to this year’s decrease in donations. Many regular donors got an early start on summer activities and aren’t taking time to give blood or platelets. In addition, this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host drives because employees are taking extended vacations.

Unfortunately, patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood products. The need is constant. Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are used for many different kinds of treatments. They include accident and burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, complications during childbirth and for patients receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Blood must be available at a moment’s notice when seconds count to help save or sustain a life. We have reached an emergency situation and the blood will not be there without the immediate response of volunteer blood donors,” said Donna M. Morrissey, Director, Communications, American Red Cross Blood Services – Northeast Division. “The Red Cross relies upon generous blood donors so we can supply blood when and where it is needed. Right now, patients in hospitals across the country need you to roll up your sleeve and give the gift of lifesaving blood.”

The Northern New England Region is seeking to collect 8300 units over the next two weeks. Each and every blood donation is crucial. To reach its goal, the Red Cross is adding emergency blood drives and extending blood drive hours and scheduled drives.  In addition, the Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, blood drive sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States. To give blood donors additional opportunities to donate, the Red Cross Donor Centers in Portland and Bangor have extended hours, starting June 26, and will have a special opening on Monday, July 2, from 11 am to 7 pm. Additionally, the hours have been increased at many Maine blood drives through July 10. Eligible donors are asked to call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a blood drive and to make appointments.

As a special thank you for helping to turn the tide against a potential shortage, all presenting donors in July will receive a coupon for a free* carton of Friendly’s Ice Cream, redeemable at any participating Friendly’s restaurant.

About the American Red Cross:                                                                                                
The American Red Cross has been a primary supplier of lifesaving blood products in the United States for more than 50 years. Eligible volunteer blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a blood drive and to make appointments.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

*Sales tax additional in some locations.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pertussis (whooping cough) update 6/14/12

Maine, like many other states, has been experiencing an increasing number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases over the past year. Maine CDC is posting weekly pertussis updates on its website. Today’s update is available at

Maine CDC has issued public service announcements about vaccinating adults that have contact with infants against pertussis in English and Spanish. These videos were created with permission from the Texas Department of State Health Service.

For more information, visit or this US CDC blog 

Lyme disease

In recognition of Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Maine CDC held a poster contest for children in grades K-8 in Maine as well as an audio public service announcement contest for high school and college students with the theme “Know Ticks, No Lyme.” Winning entries are posted on our website

Congratulations to K-8 Poster Contest Winners: Caroline Dishop, Sophie O’Clair, Chantel Gayton, and Cassidy Osgood; and Audio Contest Winners: Aidan Shadis, Liam Dworkin, Luke Huntington, and Michael LaCrosse.

Lyme disease is the most common vectorborne disease in Maine. Ticks are out and we expect the number of Lyme disease cases to increase as the weather continues to get warmer.

Maine CDC issued an advisory on May 1 to provide general information regarding ticks and Lyme disease; remind providers to report cases of Lyme disease, including those diagnosed by erythema migrans; provide resources on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease; and remind providers that Anaplasma, Babesia and other tickborne disease are also increasing in Maine.

For general information about Lyme disease, visit

Monday, June 11, 2012

Men's Health Week

It’s National Men’s Health Week.

The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

This week gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

For more information:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pertussis (whooping cough) update 6/7/12

There have been a total of 111* pertussis cases reported statewide through June 6, 2012, compared to 50 reported cases in 2011 during the same period. *Additional cases may have occurred especially in the most recent weeks that are not included in this report.

The full weekly pertussis update is available on our website.
Maine CDC issued a health alert about increasing pertussis on May 15.
See our new PSA in English:

And Spanish: