Blood donations needed to avoid winter shortage

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:50 AM MST
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(CNN) - Every time the temperature dips, so does the number of people who donate blood, but the need remains the same.

”We have already experienced widespread cancellations of blood drives because of the recent winter weather,” said medical director at the American Red Cross Dr. Baia Lasky.

The combination of winter weather and cold and flu season causes havoc for blood supplies in the U.S.

Lasky says without blood drives, the American Red Cross has lost the chance to get more than 10,000 units of blood and still, one out of seven hospitalized patients will need a transfusion.

”It really crosses the spectrum of every type of patient population who are absolutely dependent on blood and platelet transfusions for survival,” she said.

To avoid a blood shortage, the American Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to roll up their sleeves.

”We are always in need of O negative, which is the universal blood type, and O positive, which is nearly universal. We will absolutely welcome anybody who can come in to donate,” Lasky said.

Even if you have recently gotten vaccinated, Lasky says there is no waiting period. You can donate anytime as long as you are healthy and feeling well.

”About 40% of the population is eligible to donate and only 3% do, so we’re really asking people to come out, make an appointment to donate so we can keep the supply strong,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating can make an appointment online at, on the Red Cross app or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.