Severe weather prompts call for blood, platelet donations

January is National Blood Donor Month and the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types.

Severe winter weather recently led to many cancellations for regular donations and blood drives. That, combined with seasonal illnesses and holiday schedules, has resulted in the local Red Cross receiving approximately 28,000 fewer donations than needed, according to a news release from the organization.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Northern New England Red Cross Blood Services Region. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:

• Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.
• Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
• Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.
• Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

How to help
Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the blood donor app found on the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Appointments help make the donation process go quickly.

A number of blood drives are scheduled in Chittenden County in January. A full list is on the Red Cross website. Nearby drives are scheduled for Hinesburg on Jan. 11 at St. Jude’s Parish Hall and Jan. 18 at NRG Systems; also South Burlington on Jan. 13 at University Mall and Jan. 23 at St. John Vianney Parish Hall.

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