January is officially known as National Blood Donor Month.
"Right now, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in", said Natividad Lewis, a Portland-based spokeswoman for the Red Cross.
Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Donors can schedule an appointment by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767. "Sometimes they'll send a friend or family member in their spot to donate so we don't lose that blood product".
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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. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
"Hospitals don't take snow days, and neither do we", said Dawn Kaiser, director of donor services for Michigan Blood.
This has put additional pressure on the nation's blood supply, (especially for type O-negative and platelets), which already is trying to recover from lower donor turnout over the holidays, according to the release. "Your donations truly save the lives of local patients".
The need for blood is constant, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis.
About the American Red Cross:The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides global humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.