Red Cross in emergency need of donors

The Red Cross of Alabama recently reported its continued struggle and the ongoing critical need for lifesaving blood as blood product distributions remain higher than anticipated.

“Our teams are working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients, distributing about 75,000 more blood products than expected over the past three months to meet demand but we can’t do it without donors,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a recent statement.

The shortage of blood was observed in 2020 when donating centers were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In late July, the American Red Cross reported distributing about 12% more blood products to hospitals across the United States compared to this time last year.

As a result, a collection of more than 1,000 additional blood donations each day is needed to meet the current hospital demand and end the severe blood shortage. Additionally, red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers climbed by 10% in 2021, five times more than the growth of facilities that provide blood.

According to redcross.org, every Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety. Additional precautions including social distancing and facemask for donors and staff.

Consider the following facts provided by the American Red Cross:

• Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.

• Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily.

• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately three units.

• One donation can potentially save up to three lives.

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially type O. You can schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800- 733-2767, or enabling the Blood Donor Sill on any Alexa Echo device.

Donors who give blood, platelets or plasma between Aug. 16 through Aug. 31 will receive a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice as a thank you.

Donors must meet the following requirements:

• must be at least 17 years old

• must weigh more than 110 pounds

• must be in good health and feeling well

• provide an ID, such as your driver’s license

• provide complete address

• answer a few questions about your health history and places you’ve traveled during a private and confidential interview

• sign and go over basic eligibility form and read information about donating blood

For more information on the donating process or schedule an appointment to donate blood near you, visit www.redcross.org.

Visit www.fda.gov or www.redcross.org for additional information on donating COVID-19 plasma.

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