Remember a few months ago after the mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas when lines to donate blood wrapped around the block? There was such enthusiasm for giving blood to those affected by the tragedies that the Red Cross had to go as far as to request that people consider donating at a later date instead. Well, that later date is now, and after an unbelievably cold and snowy start to 2018, the organization says it’s experiencing a blood shortage.
Although all blood types are currently in short supply, the need for platelets and Type O-Negative and B-Negative blood donations are particularly urgent.
The recent winter weather and below-freezing temperatures meant that more than 150 blood drives had to be canceled, causing more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. On top of that, donating blood typically isn’t at the top of people’s priority list during the hectic holidays, and there has been an especially active cold and flu season — all of which contributed to there being more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December according to the Red Cross.
“Last week’s massive winter storm had a significant impact on our blood supply with blood drives cancelled from South Carolina to Maine,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services, said in a statement. “The Red Cross is doing everything we can to ensure blood products are available for hospital patients during these difficult winter months, but we need help from our regular donors — as well as those who are willing to donate for the first time — to give as soon as possible.”
And if you needed another reason, January is National Blood Donor Month, held at this time of year to coincide with the traditional drop in donations.
If you are eligible to donate blood, the Red Cross asks that you schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or coworker to donate too.