Just as most cars need to be refueled constantly, so does the nation’s blood supply. The American Red Cross has faced a concerning drop in blood and platelet donations this summer. Donors are needed to make an appointment to give in August to help prevent a blood shortage.
The decline in donations has caused the Red Cross blood supply to shrink nearly 20 percent in recent weeks. The availability of blood products will continue to decline if donations do not increase. People should not wait until they hear there is a blood shortage to give. Type O negative blood donors and platelet donors are especially needed now.
“This is a concerning trend that may soon make it tougher to keep blood products stocked on hospital shelves,” said Paul Sullivan, Red Cross senior vice president of donor services. “By choosing a time to give now, donors can help pump up the blood supply for those in immediate need of lifesaving care and those who rely on transfusions for treatment.”
Donors can schedule an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
As of press time, there are still appointments available for Tuesday, August 16, at Inspira Fitness Connection, and Monday, August 22 at Millville Elks Lodge 580.
Fuel up on us: As a thank-you, all who come to give August 1-31 will be automatically entered for a chance to win gas for a year, a $6,000 value. There will be three lucky winners. Everyone who comes to give blood or platelets in August will also receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice. (Terms apply. Visit rcblood.org/fuel for details.)
Blood drive safety: The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. The Red Cross will continue to socially distance wherever possible at blood drives, donation centers and facilities. While donors are no longer required to wear a face mask, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason. The Red Cross will also adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance, or at the request of blood drive sponsors. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive.
How to donate blood: Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.