American Red Cross says it is facing a shortage in blood and platelets, and it's asking donors to roll up their sleeves over the next few weeks.
Danielle Ray, a spokesman for the Red Cross’ greater Ozark region, said the Red Cross is not quite in the red, so to speak, but if people don't donate soon the organization will start running dangerously low on blood.
“We want to avoid an emergency situation,” Ray said.
In Arkansas, blood donations are 24 percent short of projections for this summer, and nationally, the Red Cross has seen an 8 percent decline in donations, Ray said. While the Red Cross needs donations from all blood types, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative stocks are running especially low, according to Ray.
O-negative is a universal blood type, Ray said, and extra important as doctors often use it in emergency situations at hospitals.
Besides blood, the Red Cross is also seeking platelet donations. Donating platelets is a two-hour process that requires blood to be taken out of the patient then cycled back through. Platelets are used for cancer patients going through chemotherapy as they are part of the blood-clotting process, something with which cancer patients have difficulty, Ray said.
Ray said that platelets can be stored for only five days before they are no longer usable and blood for only 42 days, so frequent donations are necessary.
Red Cross donation centers throughout the state can be found at www.redcrossblood.org/donation-centers/greaterozarks.