Donate Blood – The Red Cross is Experiencing the Worst Blood Shortage in a Decade

The Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. Low blood supply levels can force hospitals to defer patients from major surgery. Blood donation is desperately needed.

General Messaging

  • The current blood crisis is the worst in the past 10+ years.
  • The Red Cross continues to have a need for blood donations to ensure hospital patients in our community continue to receive needed care for treatments, such as transfusions for those battling cancer. All blood types are needed, especially types O+ & O-.
  • Please head to RedCrossBlood.org to find the next available appointment to donate.
  • The Red Cross, which supplies 40% of the nation’s blood supply, has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals as a result of the shortage. In fact, some hospitals may not receive 1 in 4 blood products they need.
  • Blood cannot be manufactured or stockpiled and can only be made available through the kindness of volunteer donors.
  • You can save three lives in 15 minutes.

What is Causing the Blood Shortage Crisis?

  • Overall blood donations have declined by 10% since March 2020.
  • There has been a 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for ~25% of donors in 2019 accounted for just ~10% during the pandemic.
  • There are ongoing blood drive cancellations due to illness, weather-related closures and staffing limitations.

Critically Needed Blood

  • Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. 38% of the population has O positive blood, making it the most common type.
  • Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.
  • Platelets are the clotting portion of blood, which must be transfused within five days of donation.
    • Nearly half of all platelet donations are given to patients undergoing cancer treatments

Reasons to Give Blood

  1. 1/3 of us will need a blood transfusion in the future
  2. 3 lives can be saved with the amount of blood donated in one sitting
  3. Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood
  4. 36 hours is the time it takes to naturally replace blood lost from the body

Call to Action

  • Make sure people know where and how to donate blood.
  • Go to redcross.org to learn how to give.

Sources: American Red Cross, Give Blood, One Blood

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