Red Cross issues urgent call for blood donations following severe winter weather

Heidi Reed of Salt Lake City Utah rests following a blood donation at the American Red Cross. On Monday the agency appealed for donations from across the country including in the Northwest

In addition, severe weather conditions have caused blood drive cancellations, and also can lead to more accidents and an increased need for blood, the release said.

Twenty-five blood drives across the state were canceled during last week's storm, leaving the Massachusetts Red Cross 681 donations short. The cancelations resulted in over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

This comes after a slow November and December with "seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed".

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Michigan Blood stated there is now an urgent need for all blood types and a special need for O-negative blood, the universal donor, which has dangerously low levels.

This network works in tandem, moving lifesaving donations throughout the system - once local patient needs are met - to help ensure blood is available when and where it's needed most, the release said.

Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, Kulman says anyone who is sick should delay donating blood until they feel better.

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Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to nearly everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.

The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis.

Eligible donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old and weigh at least 115 pounds.

Ice, freezing rain possible Sunday
As the cold clears out some chances for rain will move in starting Monday night, when a 30 percent chance is expected. It was so cold that SCE&G reported its customers set a new electricity usage record.

Every blood donation can be a life-saver for people in hospitals across the state, Michigan Blood stated. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

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