TUESDAY, July 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An emergency call for blood donations has been issued by the American Red Cross because there was a sharp drop in donations during the July Fourth holiday, but demand did not decline.
During the week of July 4, more than 450 fewer blood drives were held than during a typical week, resulting in as many as 17,000 fewer blood donations.
"Blood transfusions are one of the most common hospital procedures and blood donors play a critical role in ensuring there are enough products on the shelves to help patients in need," said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross.
"Each day, kids battling cancer, accident victims being raced to the emergency room, and mothers experiencing complicated childbirths rely on lifesaving blood. We need the public's help today to ensure we have enough blood to meet these dire needs," Young said in a Red Cross news release.
Eligible people of all blood types are being asked to donate now, especially Type O-negative and Type O-positive donors.
Type O-negative is the universal blood type used in emergency rooms when there's no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.
Type O-positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.
Eligible donors with Types O-negative and O-positive are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, maximizing their impact.
In most states, people who are 17 and older (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 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
In the United States, someone needs blood every two seconds, while someone needs platelets every 30 seconds.
The Red Cross has added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives nationwide over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors.
You can find a blood drive near you by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by going to the American Red Cross website.