Red Cross issues call for blood donations ahead of holidays

The Red Cross announced Nov. 13 it received 21,000 fewer blood donations in the months of September and October than it needed.

Hospitals are using blood products faster than donations are replacing them. The Red Cross also indicated it has been a difficult fall season for blood collection. There have been fewer blood drives and a fair amount were canceled due to hurricanes Michael and Florence.

The Red Cross typically experiences donation decline during the holiday season due to postponed blood drives and regular donors being busy with their holiday plans and travel.

AAA estimates about 54.3 million Americans will travel to destinations at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holiday period of Nov. 21-25, 2018, according to the press release.

"Today, the Red Cross asks the American public for help. As we head into the busy holiday season, we are facing a particularly challenging situation and need blood and platelet donors to replenish the blood supply for hospital patients counting on us," Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services, said. "Every day, we depend on the generosity of volunteers to roll up a sleeve to help ensure lifesaving blood products are available for those in need, and today that need is urgent."

The Red Cross is asking people with all blood types to donate, but specifically type O blood, which is the universal donor.

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