HealthDay News — Following a blood shortage triggered by the Fourth of July holiday week, the American Red Cross has called for donations of all blood types, but especially type O.
There were at least 550 fewer blood drives last week than during an average week, officials explained. Summer is typically a difficult time to collect enough blood to meet demand because high school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of donations during the school year.
On June 11, the Red Cross launched a summer-long program to encourage people to donate blood. While that campaign has brought in new donors, the agency says that it needs blood from all eligible donors as soon as possible. While all blood types are needed, type O negative and positive are especially crucial.
“Blood donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in — we need both new and current blood donors to make an appointment as soon as possible to help patients battling illness and injury,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services, said in a statement. “Unlike many other lifesaving medical treatments, blood donations cannot be manufactured and stockpiled. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days. Each donation, each day, makes a difference.”