Severe weather cancels blood drives, leads to increased need

Red Cross blood shortage prompts urgent call for blood and platelet donations       /Courtesy American Red Cross

The Red Cross says they will be accepting all types of blood but especially need Platelets, Type O Negative, Type B negative, and Type AB.

Todd Kulman - with the Red Cross of MI - says the severe winter weather over the past few weeks has been a major cause of the shortage, along with high levels of sick people during this cold and flu season. If the current trend of bad weather continues without more blood donors coming in, Michigan Blood's inventory could drop to critical levels.

"We hope new donors will consider making a donation during this time of need as well". They have to be transfused within five days, Lewis said.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. It is often used for premature infants and trauma patients. Their shelf life is very short-only 5 days-while whole blood or red cell donations can last 42 days.

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Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.

As part of the Blood Systems Blood Services division, LifeShare is included in a multi-state network of blood centers, according to the release.

Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available. It can take 24 to 36 hours to collect, test, process and distribute blood where it's needed.

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.

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