American Red Cross seeking lifesaving blood, platelet donations

Press Staff Writer

        As Hurricane Ian continues to impact the Southeast, the American Red Cross urges donors of all blood types – especially type O donors − to give blood or platelets to stop potential disruptions to patient care.
        In unaffected areas, people are asked to book and keep donation appointments to ensure lifesaving blood remains available for patients in communities impacted by the storm.
        Over the last several days, dangerous weather conditions and floodwaters have canceled dozens of blood drives with approximately 1,000 blood and platelet donations going uncollected.
        In the coming week, the Red Cross expects additional blood drive cancellations in the Southeast and fewer donors to come out to donate at drives in and around affected areas due to poor weather conditions.
        Type O blood is critically needed. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients of any other blood type and is routinely in short supply.
        It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled. With a short shelf life of just 42 days for blood and just five days for platelets, the supply must be continuously replenished.
        Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
        Recently, the FDA updated its blood donor eligibility guidance on variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease related to mad cow disease. Those who spent time in the UK, Ireland and France and have never tried to give blood are able to donate blood with the Red Cross, beginning Oct. 3.
        Those who have tried to give with the Red Cross and have been previously deferred from donating will be contacted by the Red Cross once system records are updated.
        All those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma through Oct. 31 will receive a $5 e-gift card by email to a merchant of choice. To make an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1- 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


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