The American Red Cross has an emergency need for people to give blood and platelets now. Blood donations are down more than ten percent since the beginning of June, resulting in a deficit of more than 50,000 pints of blood as the summer gets started.
The Red Cross asks anyone who is eligible to please consider making a blood donation appointment now. All blood types are needed. To make an appointment to give blood or find a blood drive nearby, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.
WHO CAN GIVE Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), 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. People should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate. It must be at least 56 days since their last blood donation.
SUMMER BLOOD DROUGHT The number of people giving blood typically drops at this time of year, but hospital patients still need blood to help them on their road to recovery. “Many people are just not available to give blood at this time of the year,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “Schools aren’t in session, businesses are on holiday schedules and people are on vacation. We’re asking everyone to remember those who need blood and to add giving blood to their summer plans.”
Blood donations drop when schools are out for the summer. Combined with the unseasonably hot weather so early in the year and businesses not scheduling blood collections due to the mid-week Fourth of July holiday, there is a shortfall of more than 50,000 blood donations before the summer really gets rolling. Because each donation can be manufactured into as many as three different blood products – red cells, plasma and platelets – the early blood donation deficit has resulted in about 150,000 blood products not being available for hospital patients who need them.
“Patients need blood all year long, even on the hottest day of the summer,” Dr. Benjamin said. “We are asking people to give blood now to help get the blood supply back to levels which are adequate to help these patients all summer long.”
WHO NEEDS BLOOD Blood products help trauma victims, burn victims, heart surgery patients, premature babies, new mothers, patients battling cancer and leukemia, patients with blood disorders such as anemia and sickle cell disease and many others. Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. The Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 blood donations every day to help these patients recover.
Anyone who is eligible is urged to make a blood donation appointment now. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation or find a nearby blood drive.