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Red Cross issues urgent call for blood donations following severe winter weather

09 January 2018

The need is especially critical on the East Coast which has been socked by frigid temperatures.

Michigan Blood stated there is now an urgent need for all blood types and a special need for O-negative blood, the universal donor, which has dangerously low levels.

Severe winter weather has had a major impact, with more than 150 blood drives nationwide forced to cancel due to severe cold and snow.

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LifeShare is asking people to give blood in the coming days and weeks. They have to be transfused within five days, Lewis said.

"We hope new donors will consider making a donation during this time of need as well".

Over 40 hospitals and medical facilities in a 10-county area depend on the supply of blood provided by We Are Blood.

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The agency also needs type O negative blood, which is a universal blood type that anyone can receive. It is often used for premature infants and trauma patients. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives.

As part of the Blood Systems Blood Services division, LifeShare is included in a multi-state network of blood centers, according to the release. "The Red Cross is doing everything we can to ensure blood products are available for hospital patients during these hard winter months, but we need help from our regular donors - as well as those who are willing to donate for the first time - to give as soon as possible".

The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis. It can take 24 to 36 hours to collect, test, process and distribute blood where it's needed.

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Eligible donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old and weigh at least 115 pounds.

Red Cross issues urgent call for blood donations following severe winter weather