Severe winter weather has caused the cancellation of more than 1,000 American Red Cross blood drives across 34 states, including New Jersey, this year. The cancellations have resulted in 35,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. See Winter Weather Impact.
All blood types are needed to help restock Red Cross shelves. Those with type O negative, O positive, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Type O negative is universal and can likely be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with either Rh positive or negative blood. Eligible donors with Rh negative blood types are encouraged to give double red cells where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.
There is also an urgent need for platelet donors to make appointments to give. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients -- must be transfused within five days of donation; so donations are always needed.
PLEASE DONATE BLOOD NOW For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in New Jersey), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
WINTER STORM SAFETY TIPS With another winter storm headed for New Jersey this week, the Red Cross wants residents to be prepared and remain safe during this and future winter events.
• Check and restock your supplies using our checklist.
• Avoid frozen pipes -- run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
• Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
• If possible, the Red Cross also asks that everyone check in on their neighbors, especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone.
• Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
• Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. The Humane Society recommends wiping their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
Protect your pet’s health too – download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App.