While temperatures continue to rise this summer, the American Red Cross reports that the blood inventory levels are so low it is unable to sufficiently meet the demand of local hospitals. While there is a constant need for all blood types, donors with O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood types are asked to take an hour to donate right away.
It is especially crucial for donors with type O blood donate within the next few days. Type O is the most common blood type and is used extensively by hospitals. Type O blood donors are considered universal donors because their blood can be given to most other blood types in emergencies when there is no time to type a patient's blood. Hospitals commonly experience an increase in traumas during the summer, making the need for type O blood even greater.
"While enjoying summer activities, people often forget that the need for blood is constant," said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. "Blood donations always decline during the summer months, but blood is used to treat area hospital patients every day. Patients depend on the generous donations of others to receive the life-saving blood they need."
In the summer, blood shortages are common because donations decrease, along with the number of organizations that will sponsor blood drives. The absence of high school and college blood drives factors largely into the annual drop in donations because these drives account for approximately 25 percent of all donations in the Southern Region.
"We want to make the donation process as convenient as possible for those who take time out of their day to help save lives. In order to avoid long waits at our donor centers and blood drives, we ask that donors call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make appointments to give blood," said Mr. Edwards.
The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region needs approximately 1,200 people to donate blood each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients. Most people who are age 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to give blood every 56 days. There is no substitute for blood, and the only source is from volunteer donors.