While thousands of people from across the country have responded to the call for blood donations issued by the American Red Cross earlier this month, the urgent need for donations is now critical.
Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. Inclement winter weather in some areas of the country has already forced the cancellation of approximately 30 blood drives this month, resulting in over 1,100 uncollected donations.
Busy holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held across the country compared to the two previous months, which has resulted in about 50,000 fewer donations and reduced the blood supply. Donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
“A decline in the blood supply after the winter holidays is not uncommon, but it can be replenished when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Jan Hale, communications manager for the Red Cross Southwest Blood Services Region. “We encourage our generous donors who are eligible, as well as new donors, to make an appointment to give blood and help ensure blood products continue to be available for patients. Every two seconds a patient in the U.S. needs blood.”
Eligible blood donors of all types – especially those with types O, AB, B negative and A negative blood – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible. To make an appointment to donate download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
January is National Blood Donor Month, which has been observed since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood donations during the winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood donations to meet patient needs. In addition to winter bringing busy holiday schedules for many regular donors, severe winter weather can cancel blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause donors to be temporarily unable to give.