Severe winter weather with snow storms and frigid temperatures has had a tremendous impact on blood donations. More than 150 blood drives were forced to cancel because of it, causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. The Red Cross says that means thousands of possible donations were not collected.
"The need is constant, and hospital patients don't get a vacation from blood transfusions, " explained Red Cross Communications Manager Sue Thesenga. Further adding to the diminishing supply, hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December. "Sometimes they'll send a friend or family member in their spot to donate so we don't lose that blood product". RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App. However, Kulman says anyone who is sick should delay donating blood until they feel better.
January is officially known as National Blood Donor Month.
The agency also needs type O negative blood, which is a universal blood type that anyone can receive.
Donors of all blood types are needed.