COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As the summer starts to wind down, the American Red Cross is in urgent need of blood donations to help end a summer blood shortage. They are working to get as many donations as possible before the summer ends because they say many regular donors are delaying in giving to take final summer vacations and get the kids ready to head back to school.
“Summer is always a difficult time for blood collection because people do other things. They get distracted. They travel a lot and kids are out of school so a lot of our blood drives and blood collection is normally based within the school realm so there are blood drives there so it’s just a combination of factors. People just have a lot going on in the summer," said Adelaide Kirk, executive director of the Red Cross of West Central Georgia.
The Red Cross needs donors of all blood types due to an ongoing emergency blood shortage. They say while thousands of donors have given blood this summer, blood and platelet donations aren’t keeping up with patient needs.
Kirk says the Red Cross is at less than a three day blood supply and they like to be around a five day blood supply. For Type O blood, Kirk says they are at less than a two day supply. She says less than 3% of the population gives blood.
“The need is constant. Blood perishes. It’s only good for 42 days once it’s taken and platelets are only good for five days so because of that, there’s always a constant need for blood donors. With the approaching Labor Day holiday, that is always a time when people try to get in that last vacation and so blood donations drop," Kirk explained.
If you have donated blood earlier this summer, you may be eligible to give again. The Red Cross says blood can be safely given every 56 days and Power Red Donations can be given every 112 days.
The Red Cross is offering a small incentive for those who help save lives by donating. Amazon donated $1 million to the Red Cross so, the Red Cross is thanking those who give blood now through August 29th with a $5 Amazon Gift Card via email.
There are multiple opportunities to donate blood now through mid-September in Columbus and surrounding areas. You can look up the upcoming blood drives near you here.