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Red Cross Experiencing an Emergency Blood Shortage | WDIY Local News

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is facing what they’re calling an emergency blood shortage.

Blood shortages are an ongoing issue nationwide, according to a press release, and calls have been made in the past for help or more donors. Now, the organization says their supply is at a critically low level.

In recent weeks, the Red Cross says they’ve had to limit their distributions to hospitals, especially for some of the most transfused blood types. Donors are needed now to bring their distributions back to normal, and in the coming weeks and months to help rebuild the supply to a sustainable level.

Blood and platelet donations are needed for people who experience accidents, receive surgeries, or who undergo critical treatments for diseases like cancer or sickle cell disease. Transfusions need to be available at a moment’s notice to prevent these necessary medical procedures from being delayed.

January is National Blood Donor Month because it’s often a challenging time for the national blood supply, largely because of lower donor turnout around the holidays, severe winter weather, or donor illness.

Over the last twenty years, the U.S. has seen the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross drop by around 40%. The American Red Cross is hoping to reverse this trend and get people back to donating.

Those interested in taking action can schedule an appointment to give blood through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org, or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. The Red Cross also urges people to encourage friends and family to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments now and throughout the year.

The Red Cross and the people relying on life saving blood transfusions need all the help they can get. With enough support, the organization will be able to withstand this emergency shortage and ensure that another shortage of this size never happens again.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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