According to the Red Cross, severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations. More than 150 blood drives have already been cancelled this year causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.
"Last week's massive winter storm had a significant impact on our blood supply with blood drives cancelled from SC to ME", said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services.
And it will support a nationwide effort to boost donations, as January is National Blood Donor Month.
"Right now, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in", said Natividad Lewis, a Portland-based spokeswoman for the Red Cross.
A recent press released stated donations during the holiday season were lower than anticipated, placing the Central Texas blood supply at a "dangerously low" level.
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Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) may be eligible to donate, although there are height and weight restrictions for people 16 to 18 years old. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. She says blood is a perishable product, and you can donate every 56 days.
The agency also needs type O negative blood, which is a universal blood type that anyone can receive.
Type B negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients.
The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis.