Donors needed to replenish Red Cross blood supply - FOX Carolina 21

Donors needed to replenish Red Cross blood supply

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TUCSON, AZ (CBS5) -

Severe winter weather across the U.S. has created more than just headaches with travel, heating and snow removal.

It also caused the cancellation of about 770 blood drives for the American Red Cross, leaving the agency with a shortage of blood and platelet donations, the agency said in a news release Tuesday.

The Red Cross now has an urgent need for platelet and blood donors with types O, A negative and B negative, according to the release.

On average, the Red Cross said it must collect about 15,000 units of blood every day for patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

With additional winter weather forecast for parts of the country in the next week or two, all blood types are currently needed to ensure a sufficient blood supply is available for patients, according to the release.

"Blood products were distributed to hospitals as quickly as the donations came in," said Debra Deininger, spokesperson of the Red Cross Arizona Blood Services Region.

"The extraordinary number of cancellations in January was the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than an entire day," Deininger said.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed, according to the release.

Red blood cells are the oxygen carrying components of blood and are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

Though they have not been affected by the winter weather, Arizonans are being encouraged to donate.

Prospective donors can call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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