Red Cross needs donors to ease shortage

Red Cross needs donors to ease shortage

Bernadette Jay, the External Communications Manager with American Red Cross, says the agency tries to keep a five-day supply of blood on hand.

Erie News Now stopped by to get an update on the critical need that was announced last week. "It has to be there right at the time it's needed". The critical call for donors is being made, in anticipation for more severe weather.

According to Kim Murphy, director of donor recruitment for Blood Assurance, shortages are usually expected during the winter because of the weather, busy holiday travel schedules, seasonal illnesses and the fact that numerous region's college students, who make up a large percentage of donors, do not start classes until mid-January.

"That's not including blood drives that have had lower turnouts and have under-performed due to weather", Edsall said.

According to the American Red Cross, "the Leaders Save Lives program encourages community minded high school and college students to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply over the winter".

Red Cross needs donors to ease shortage
Red Cross needs donors to ease shortage

This winter's particularly rough and early flu season, combined with the aftermath of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, have created an even greater need for blood donations regionally and nationally. "Of the 38 percent I just mentioned, only eight percent of them actually do donate regularly, so a fraction of the population is providing the blood for everybody else". RapidPass can now be completed on mobile devices and through the Blood Donor App.

All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, which is universal and can be used for anyone.

Donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health and feeling well. "Also, if you are using electrical space heaters make sure that you plug them directly into an outlet and you are in the room when you are using them and when you go to leave the room turn them off".

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in high demand.

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