Facing a nationwide blood shortage, The American Red Cross has issued an urgent call for donors of all blood types.
“All eligible donors are encouraged to make and keep donation appointments to help prevent an emergency situation,’’ the agency wrote in a news release declaring the shortage Tuesday.
Blood donations through the Red Cross are down 8 percent since May. That translates to 80,000 fewer donations than expected, and the decline could lead to an “emergency situation’’ in the coming weeks.
The Red Cross attributes some of this decline in donations to Fourth of July falling on a Friday this year. Since many people took time off to extend the holiday weekend, significantly fewer blood drives were scheduled that week than normal. Only 3,450 blood drives occurred during the holiday week compared to 4,400 in a typical summer week.
The need for O negative, B negative and A negative blood is particularly pressing and the agency is urging these donors to donate extra red cells:
Since these blood types are compatible with others, they can be transfused to the widest range of patients. O negative blood is universal and can be used in patients of all blood types while A and B negative blood can be used in Rh positive or negative patients. The shortage is affecting all blood types, however, and people of all blood types are urged to donate.
Platelet donations are also down substantially this summer. Platelets help stop or prevent blood clotting and are often needed by cancer patients, heart surgery patients, and accident victims.
Help fight the shortage and donate today! Don’t know if you’re eligible? If you’re in good health and feeling well, are 17 years-old, and weigh at least 110 lbs, you’re good to go. Here’s where you can donate:
•7/24 Soldier’s Home
•7/25 JFK Federal Builiding
•7/25 Uno’s Corporate Office
Here’s a full map of Massachusetts Red Cross donation centers:
View Massachusetts Red Cross in a larger map