Red Cross requests blood donations amid summer shortage

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The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for blood and platelet donations.

Currently, they have less than a five-day supply of blood on hand, the humanitarian organization said in a statement.

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The Red Cross reached out for help via social media, tweeting, “Blood donations are urgently need for hospital patients. Please make an appointment.”

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The organization said blood shortages during the summer are not uncommon but can be overcome through donations.

“The summer months are among the most challenging to ensure we collect enough blood for hospital patients,” Rodney Wilson, External Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in Ohio said in an email. “This is because during the summer schools, are out of session, which make up about 20 percent of donations during the rest of the year.”

Wilson said groups are also less willing to host blood drives in the summer months due to employees taking summer vacation.

“Busy summer schedules mean fewer donations at a time when traumatic injuries can increase due to increased travel,” Wilson said.

“We typically see a blood shortage in summer months due to these factors and want to remind people that blood is needed every day of the year, regardless of season, holiday or weather.”

At least a five-day supply is needed to meet the demands of hospitals for patients battling diseases like sickle cell and cancer. Blood reserves are also needed to prepare for emergencies, according to the Red Cross.

Those interested in donating must be at least 17, or 16 with parental consent, and must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Interested donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment on the Red Cross Blood Donor app or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

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