The American Red Cross needs more than half a million blood donations in August to keep up with patient demand in thousands of hospitals across the country.
The Red Cross issued a national appeal for blood donors in July and many people responded and gave blood. However, the blood supply is not yet back to an adequate level, and blood products continue to go to area hospitals just as quickly as they are coming in.
“We are grateful to everyone who gave blood last month, but we are not out of the woods yet,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “We need more than 500,000 people to give blood in August just to meet patient demand. We will need more than that to rebuild our blood supply back to adequate levels.”
The sweltering heat waves that have baked much of the country this summer have kept people from giving blood, adding to the usual summer slowdown that occurs with blood donations because people are on vacation and schools are closed.
Donations are needed from all blood types, but there is a particular need for type O negative, which is the universal blood type. The Red Cross is using the Twitter hashtag #refuelourtank to encourage Twitter users to spread the word about the need for blood donors now.
The Red Cross provides blood products to nearly 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers in the United States. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
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. 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.