The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donors Jan. 14 after fewer donations were made during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The Red Cross has a less than three-day supply of most blood types, according to a new release. The ideal blood supply is five days to respond to emergencies and hospital needs, and blood products are being used at hospitals faster than donations are coming in.
“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in the release. “When donations decline—as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up—lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed.”
Winter weather in December prompted nearly twice the number of uncollected blood and platelet donations as December 2017, according to the release. During the holidays, the Red Cross collected roughly 27,000 fewer donations than needed.
Carter BloodCare, an independent community blood center, also released a statement Jan. 7 stating the blood supply in north, central and east Texas regions reached a two-year low.
“Carter BloodCare typically likes to see 1,000 donors each day in order to maintain the community blood supply at a safe and sufficient level,” Doug Heath, director of lab operations at Carter BloodCare, said in the release. “The week ahead shows an estimated 3,000 appointments short of that target. This is a situation that will not go away overnight.”
The Red Cross is asking people donate blood in the coming weeks in hopes of preventing a blood shortage from continuing through the winter. Donors can make an appointment by visiting www.redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767.
Volunteers can also check Carter Bloodcare’s donor centers for available times and locations.
Below is a map highlighting blood drives taking place Jan. 14-Feb. 15 in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Richardson, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village, Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake.