(WWBT) - The American Red Cross is facing a critical shortage of type O blood, the blood group most needed by hospitals.
The organization is offering a $5 Amazon.com gift card to people who donate blood or platelets through June 10 to help combat the shortage.
The Red Cross currently has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms. That means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day.
“All blood types are urgently needed, but we’re facing a critical shortage of type O blood – the blood group most needed by hospitals,” said Senior Vice President Cliff Numark. “Because it’s vitally important for hospitals to have type O blood available when every second counts, type O donors are urged to donate now and make a point to donate often.”
“Blood is coming off our shelves quicker than it is coming in," said American Red Cross representative Jon McNamara, adding that donations typically dip this time of the year. “School and vacation season start to pick up. When the weather is nicer and people are traveling around, maybe donating blood is not at the top of their mind.”
While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type.
Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.
The Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply.
But even if you have already given, McNamara says the need is ongoing.
“If you’ve given blood in the past, that donation has gone to patients here in the commonwealth to support their needs, but there are new patients coming in each and every day.”
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Eligible donors with type O blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or Power Red donation, where available.
During a Power Red donation, donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
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