Authors: Joshua Cohan
(WASHINGTON) -- The American Red Cross today reported dangerously low levels of blood and platelet supplies, with 50,000 fewer blood donations than expected for the month of June. The Red Cross calls upon all those who are eligible to give blood to visit Red Cross or other collection centers to donate.
"Donations are down more than 10 percent across the country," Stephanie Millian, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, told ABC News. "We have almost half the amount of available blood on the shelves compared to last year."
Blood donations usually drop in the summer months, and the early heat wave, along with summer vacations, likely contributed to the severely limited supply.
The Red Cross hasn’t made a push for more donated blood since last summer when supply was also low.
All types of blood are welcome, but O negative is particularly needed. It is the universal donor blood type, and the type doctors turn to during emergencies, because it can be transfused to anyone in need. Blood types O positive, B negative and A negative are in particularly high demand, too, said the Red Cross.
"We need 38,000 units of blood every day to meet the needs of patients across the country," said Millian.
She said blood is needed across the country, but recent severe weather and flooding in the southern part of the country has put it even more in need.
To find blood donation centers in your area, call 800-RedCross or visit www.redcross.org.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio