WASHINGTON — Citing a shortfall of donations over the winter holidays, the American Red Cross put out an emergency call Monday for blood donors in the D.C. area.
The nonprofit — which supplies about 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply — says it was down by over 27,000 blood and platelet donations through the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.
The Red Cross said it has less than a three-day supply of most blood types, and that a five-day supply is ideal needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs.
One of the reasons isn’t obvious to everyone: Blood goes bad.
“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, in a news release.
“When donations decline – as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up – lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed.”
Winter weather itself presents a threat to the available blood supply.
“Snow, ice and extreme temperatures last January and February forced hundreds of blood drive cancellations, causing about 23,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected,” the organization wrote.
“We hope people can resolve to save lives now – when there is an emergency need – as well as throughout the year,” Numark added.
There are a host of opportunities for residents to donate from Jan. 14 to Feb. 15.
Complete list of dates and locations below:
Prince George’s County
St. Mary’s County
Falls Church City
Prince William County
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