The American Red Cross declared a national blood shortage on Sept. 11, citing a critically low blood supply level that dropped nearly 25% since early August. Since the plea for more blood donors went out, the Red Cross has seen an increase in donations and is thankful to everyone who has rolled up a sleeve to help boost the blood supply.
When supplies are low it can often take weeks for inventories to rebound. The Red Cross estimates they must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month for the blood supply to reach sufficient levels and meet hospital and patient needs.
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed, and there is an emergency need for platelet donors and type O blood donors to make an appointment to give now to ensure patients across the country continue receiving critical medical care.
To make an appointment to give blood or platelets, donors can use the Red Cross Blood App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
As announced earlier this month, blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations coming in, and distributions of some of the most needed blood types to hospitals have been reduced in recent weeks.
There are several reasons for the drop in donor turnout ─ one of the busiest travel seasons on record, back-to-school activities ─ and back-to-back months of almost constant climate-driven disasters. Unfortunately, experts are forecasting an intense fall disaster season that could further impact the ability of the Red Cross to collect enough of blood products to meet hospital demand.
The Red Cross is working with hospitals around–the-clock to meet the blood needs of patients – but can’t do it alone. The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood---an often-invisible emergency that the rest of the world doesn’t see.
There are many different illnesses that require blood products as part of the patient’s treatment. For example, individuals with sickle cell disease may depend on frequent blood transfusions – needing as many as 100 units of blood per patient each year. Patients undergoing cancer treatments often require blood or platelet transfusions during their treatments. In fact, nearly half of all platelet donations are given to patients undergoing cancer treatments – a disease all too familiar to millions of Americans and their families. Approximately 2/3 of all children diagnosed with cancer will require a blood transfusion at some point during their treatment.
Please make an appointment to give blood now and in the coming weeks. In thanks for helping to replenish the blood supply this month, those who come to give throughout September will be automatically entered for a chance to a win a VIP NASCAR racing experience. Details are available at rcblood.org/racetogive. Those who donate in September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts.