The supply of type O negative blood at the American Red Cross has dropped to critically low levels, officials said.
Type O negative blood is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type, especially in emergency situations. Getting more Type O negative is needed to shore up the dwindling supply.
"The American Red Cross has convenient locations and blood drive hours and we are reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to help recruit type O negative blood donations to help make up for this shortfall," explained Lisa Gallegos, spokeswoman.
"The Red Cross monitors the blood inventory on a daily basis and when we see a trend or shortage emerging, we communicate the need to our generous blood donors to help us make up the shortfall."
A shortage of Type O negative blood often occurs during the summer months when fewer donors are giving because of summer vacations and schools approaching summer break are hosting fewer drives.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 80 hospitals and must have more than 1,000 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source, Gallegos said.
People 17 years old or more who meet weight and height requirements and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. They can call 800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make appointments. Identification will be required.