Red Cross: Blood donations are at 10-year low approaching historically slow holiday season

Blood donation
Photo credit Getty Images

(WWJ) The Red Cross is putting out an urgent call for donations, saying its current blood supply for the holiday season is the lowest it’s been for more than a decade.

According to the Red Cross, more than 10,000 donations per week are needed nationwide to meet demand.

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“We always need blood, especially this time of year; blood donations are historically fewer when we get into the holiday time because people get busy, it’s colder, and of course, in this COVID-19 environment, we’ve had fewer blood donations than we have had in years past,” Red Cross Spokesperson, Kathy Anthofer-Fialon, told WWJ.

In late September, The American Red Cross and the American Blood Centers of America put out the call citing “dangerously low blood supply.” They said blood drives had had less turnout due to fears of the COVID-19 variant and capacity restrictions. Many blood drives at schools and businesses had to be canceled because someone involved had tested positive for or been diagnosed with the virus.

“If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, hospitals may be forced to alter treatment for some patients or cancel some patient surgeries. Blood donations are needed now to help maintain optimal care for all patients,” the press release read.

With the typically slow holiday season upon us, health officials across the country worry it will compound with the already urgent need they were experiencing this fall…making the situation worse.

For a regular blood donation, you must be at least 17 years old (or have parental consent) in the state of Michigan; be at least 110 lbs, and be “in good health.” You must pass a basic health screening. See a complete list of why certain people are ineligible to donate blood. A COVID-19 vaccine does not preclude you from being a donor.

The entire donation process takes about 8 to 10 minutes, where you will be lying down or sitting. You will be able to leave after 10 to 15 minutes of recovery time and go about the rest of your day, according to the Red Cross.

Anthofer-Fialon said they need all blood types.

“At this point, any blood is good blood. We’re running low on all types.”

To donate, you can schedule an appointment using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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