The massive heat wave blanketing much of the country is impacting an already seriously low blood supply in the United States. The American Red Cross urges people to give blood as soon as possible to help build the supply back to a sufficient level.
The triple-digit temperatures have made it extremely difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of donors to go out and give blood. Furthermore, heat-related issues have forced the Red Cross to cancel blood drives or close them early, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of scheduled blood donations.
The Red Cross issued a national appeal for blood donors earlier this month to boost the blood supply back to adequate levels. While people have responded to that appeal, blood products are going out to the nation’s hospitals just as quickly as donations are coming in.
“The Red Cross is grateful to everyone who has come forward to give blood in response to this appeal,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “But we still need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met.”
The Red Cross is responsible for distributing blood and blood products to about 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. To do this, the Red Cross needs to collect more than 22,000 blood donations each weekday and about 15,000 each weekend. Blood donations help surgical patients, patients with cancer, accident victims, patients with blood disorders and many orders.
If you would like to help, you must be 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 be in generally good health to be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.