Health

Winter weather sparks Tri-Cities blood shortage

Tuesday the American Red Cross sounded the alarm after seeing a critical shortage in blood donations desperately needed in the Tri-Cities area after the cold weather hit.

"We've been seeing fewer donations, not only in the Tri-Cities region but across the region," said American Red Cross Account Manager Margo Cady.

Cady says in just the last few weeks more than one thousand units of blood have been lost due to weather conditions, the Red Cross still doing its best to power through the heavy snow.

"We look at the weather and we are making phone calls as early as 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning," said Cady.

The snow and icy roads forced 16 blood drives to cancel in the Pacific Northwest leaving more than 450 donations uncollected.

Add the holidays on top of that... and things didn't get any easier for the Red Cross.

"People are shopping they are getting ready for their families it's the last thing that is on their mind," Cady added.

Holiday schedules and weather for many regular donors contributing to about 37 thousand fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

The demand for blood, not stopped by weather.

"We provide 40% of the nation's blood supply, so it's a really big margin that we need to collect," said Cady.

The Red Cross added nearly 200 hours to blood donation centers and community drives across the country in the past few weeks, hoping to close the shortage gap and save lives.

"It can help people with transplants, it can help people that are in car accidents, it can help burn victims," Cady continued.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, the Red Cross saying just one hour of your time makes all the difference.

Lifesaving treatments, that millions depend on.

"Any blood donation, any blood is definitely needed," Cady concluded.

The American Red Cross blood drives conduct medical history checks for free and they say donors can schedule an appointment to donate at redcrossblood.org.


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