The American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels, with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June. The shortfall leaves the Red Cross with half the readily available blood products on hand now than this time last year.
The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors - now more than ever - to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible.
All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative, in order to meet patient demand this summer.
An unseasonably early start to spring may be a contributing factor to this year's decrease in donations. Many regular donors got an early start on summer activities and aren't taking time to give blood or platelets. In addition, this year's mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host drives because employees are taking extended vacations.