The American Red Cross is asking for help to prevent an emergency blood shortage.
Donations through the Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.
Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.
With the Independence Day holiday falling on Friday the number of blood drives scheduled in early July dropped. Many sponsors did not host drives because people took vacations either over the long weekend or for the entire week. In an average summer week, about 4,400 Red Cross blood drives are scheduled, compared to Independence Day week when only 3,450 drives occurred.
There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so it's important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.
A spokesperson with Michigan Blood said they also see a drop in blood donors during the summer months. While Michigan Blood isn't experiencing an emergency shortage, summer vacation does cause a decrease in donations. That's because 33-percent of Michigan Blood donors are high school students taking part in school blood drives.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood through American Red Cross, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.
Michigan Blood also hosts drives throughout northern Michigan.