You’ve heard the call before and you’ll hear it again because the need for blood donors doesn’t end. But certain times of year push the blood supply to the limit, and shrivel the pool of potential donors of blood or platelets. 

This winter is bringing a double whammy, according to the American Red Cross. More cases of the flu are being reported across the country, and predictable, but always challenging, winter weather threatens to cancel blood drives. The Red Cross sent out an urgent call recently because it faces a critical shortage of type O blood and needs donors so it can restock the shelves.

The Red Cross said that every day it must collect nearly 13,000 blood donations and more than 2,600 platelet donations for patients who rely on blood to survive, including many patients being treated for leukemia and other life-threatening illnesses.

Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type, according to the Red Cross. Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type and it’s the one often used during emergencies when medical staff don’t have time to determine a patient’s blood type.

The call is out for donors with all blood types, although O positive and O negative are most welcome. Anyone interested in donating blood or platelets can make an appointment online at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

There are many dates, times and locations for blood drives in region over the coming weeks. Check them out — you could be saving a life.

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