WEDNESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- The American Red Cross is sending out an emergency request for blood donors after a recent dip in donations.
Blood donations were down about 10 percent across the United States in June, with about 50,000 fewer donations than expected, the group said. People of all blood types are being asked to donate blood and platelets to help save lives.
"We're asking for the public's help now to prevent a more serious shortage," Red Cross spokesperson Stephanie Millian said in a news release. "Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for patients in need. It's the blood products on the shelves today that help save lives in an emergency."
June can be one of the most difficult months of the year to collect blood and platelet donations because many regular donors are busy with summer activities and less able to find time to donate.
For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit the American Red Cross website. People who are at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and in 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.
The Red Cross reminds people that the need for blood and platelet donations is constant. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. 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.
The American Red Cross has more about donating blood.