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Red Cross needs type O donors amid critical shortage

The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and is asking all eligible people to donate.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms.

The Red Cross says that means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day. While just 7% of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.

The Red Cross collected about 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. Spring break schedules are known to decrease blood donations, and schools, including high schools and colleges, begin to host fewer blood drives in late spring as school years end. Because these drives account for about 20% of blood donations during the school year, fewer drives can also greatly affect the blood supply.
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