January is National Blood Donor Month and it could not have come at a better time as the American Red Cross faces a winter blood donation shortage.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute says it is in serious need of O-negative blood donors.
Winter weather can have a tremendous impact on the blood supply this time of year when brutally cold temperatures keep many donors home, and snow and ice storms often result in the cancellation of blood drives.
Of course, in the Norfolk and Coastal areas of Virginia, blood drives scheduled for last week had to be cancelled due to the storm, further hampering the donations there. She says during November and December the Red Cross was short 28,000 donors from normal levels.
"Last week's massive winter storm had a significant impact on our blood supply with blood drives cancelled from SC to ME", said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. This network works in tandem, moving lifesaving donations throughout the system-once local patient needs are met-to help ensure blood is available when and where it's needed most.More news: Two injured after fire at Trump Tower in NY
Every blood donation can be a life-saver for people in hospitals across the state, Michigan Blood stated.
Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. There's also a Blood Donor App. O-negative, the universal blood type that's always in high demand, can be given to patients of any blood type.
"It's an important blood type for emergency situations", Lewis said.
The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis. They have to be transfused within five days, Lewis said. "Unfortunately, as time passes, people get back to their routines and tend to forget that the need for life saving blood continues". The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.