Why Winter Is the Most Important Time to Give Blood

Why Winter Is the Most Important Time to Give Blood

Thirteen Connecticut blood drives were canceled because of last week's winter storm, causing 339 donations to go uncollected, according to the Red Cross. Well, that later date is now, and after an unbelievably cold and snowy start to 2018, the organization says it's experiencing a blood shortage.

"We do have the unique ability to send blood wherever it's needed and once we tend to see that 5 day supply is dwindling then we kind of sound the alarm to let people know hey there's an urgent need right now we need people to come out and donate", said Bernadette Jay with the American Red Cross.

January is National Blood Donor Month, a campaign started by the American Red Cross in 1970 to promote winter blood donations across the country.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year.

"Last week's massive winter storm had a significant impact on our blood supply with blood drives cancelled from SC to Maine", Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services, said in a statement. Eligible donors can schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules that collectively contribute to more than 28,000 fewer donations than were needed in November and December.

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A single blood donation can help up to three patients.

Gov. Malloy says he comes from a family of donors and has been giving blood for the past 40 years. The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, and now Red Cross blood products are being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations come in.

Serving local hospitals is the first priority, but the Red Cross can move blood products to where they're needed most.

The Red Cross encourages individuals to make a donation appointment and to complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process. The DD Card may be used toward the purchase of any item at participating Dunkin' Donuts.

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