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Facing ‘critical’ type O blood shortage, Red Cross issues urgent call for donors

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A donor prepares to give blood at the American Red Cross Donation Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017.

Adam Fondren, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY  — The American Red Cross on Monday issued an “urgent call” for donors of all blood types to give blood — as well as a “critical” need for type O blood.

“With influenza escalating across the country and preventing some donors from giving, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors to restock the shelves,” a news release from the American Red Cross stated.

As of Monday, the Red Cross has a less than three-day supply of type O blood available for patients and medical treatments, according to the release.

Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. While just 7% of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused 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, according to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross urged donors of all blood types — especially types O positive and O negative — to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).