(WYTV) – The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe shortage of their blood supply. Right now, they’re in desperate need of donations.
“The demand for blood has increased. Unfortunately, it’s put us in a situation where we have a shortage, so we need to come out now and ask people to give if they’re eligible — not only now but in the coming weeks. We see this happening probably through the end of the summer,” said Christy Peters, regional communications manager for the Northern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross.
We took a closer look at what’s causing the shortage and how you can help.
“No matter what type you are, we need you to make an appointment to give,” Peters said.
It’s yet another fallout from the pandemic — the blood supply across the United States is dangerously low.
“Many who have postponed surgeries and other treatments needed during COVID-19, they’re now coming back to [the] hospital because they’re feeling safer. Unfortunately, their diseases have progressed,” Peters said.
Some of those patients now need blood transfusions to treat those diseases.
The shortage is also affecting trauma care, organ transplants and elective surgeries.
According to the American Red Cross, the number of emergency room visits is also increasing, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants.
Because blood is perishable and can’t be stockpiled, it constantly needs to be replenished. This shortage is forcing some hospitals to further put off elective surgeries until there’s a more stabilized flow of blood donations.
So, every blood type is needed.
“But especially type O donors. Type O negative is the universal blood type and that is the type that’s used most often in these emergency room visits that we’re talking about,” Peters said.
Blood platelets are also in high demand.
As the pandemic lingers on, many are still worried about donating, but Peters says that shouldn’t be a concern.
“The coronavirus is a respiratory disease and therefore there’s not a concern that it can be transfused through blood,” Peters said.
So if you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, you can still donate blood. The same thing goes if you’ve been vaccinated.
“So we encourage everyone if you’re feeling healthy and well, please consider making an appointment,” Peters said.
To schedule an appointment to give blood, you can use the 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.