As more people make travel plans to celebrate with family and friends this year, the American Red Cross asks donors to set aside a time to give blood for patients waiting for care over the holidays.
Throughout the season, several factors can disrupt the ability of the Red Cross to collect enough blood for patients across the country.
• Travel: According to a recent study, nearly half of Americans plan to travel over the holidays this year, which may negatively impact the blood supply if fewer people come out to donate.
• Seasonal illness: The U.S. is seeing a rise in respiratory illnesses like the flu and RSV, which can decrease the availability of healthy donors.
• Weather: Parts of the country have already seen storms bring several feet of snow this year. Winter weather often leads to hazardous road conditions, canceling blood drives and making it dangerous for donors to venture out to give.
It’s important for donors − especially type O blood donors and platelet donors − to give now to ensure hospitals have the blood they need through the end of the year. Schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
As a thank-you, all who come to give December 16 – January 2 will get a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
Upcoming Red Cross community blood drives:
• Eitzen: December 27 from 12-6 p.m., Eitzen Lions Club, 207 E Main St.
• Houston: December 28 from 1-7 p.m., St. Mary’s Church, 202 S Sheridan St. About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.