HEALTH

Donate blood to fight the shortage, Red Cross says

Oct 11, 2023, 2:00 PM

a person donates blood in a utah red cross center -- SALT LAKE CITY -- A blood shortage in Utah and...

Phlebotomist Celeste Rob prepares Mary Jone Dow for a blood donation at American Red Cross in Murray on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Ivy Ceballo/Deseret News)

(Ivy Ceballo/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A blood shortage in Utah and across the country is worrying organizations like the American Red Cross. In response, the Red Cross put out a nationwide call for people to donate to their local centers.

The U.S. is reaching critically low blood supplies. According to the Red Cross’s website, the amount of blood being distributed right now is “outpacing” the amount being donated.

“A convergence of multiple factors has resulted in this national blood shortage,” said Heidi Ruster, CEO of the American Red Cross Utah Nevada region.

The shelf life of blood donations is just one of those factors. According to Ruster, red blood cells expire after 42 days, meaning the Red Cross needs a continuous supply to keep up with demand.

Worsening the situation, there was a 25% decrease in donations last month.

60% of people are potentially able to donate, Ruster said. But only about 3% of people actually do. 

Now, the Red Cross has put out a nationwide appeal for donations from people of any blood type.

Ruster said it’s been 18 months since they’ve had a call to action of this magnitude.

Donating blood with the Red Cross of Utah can be quick and easy, with locations across the state. Donating blood can even be good for you, Ruster said.

“There [are] some health benefits too… you’ll find out where your iron levels are.. what your blood pressure is… and it’s known in the health world that donating blood on a regular basis can be good for your blood and your iron.”

The Red Cross is also offering a $15 gift card to Amazon to blood, plasma, and platelet donors between now and Oct. 20.

You can find the nearest donation center through the American Red Cross website.

Samantha Herrera contributed to the reporting of this story.

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Donate blood to fight the shortage, Red Cross says