The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges eligible donors to give now to help patients facing trauma and other life-threatening situations.

As a thank-you for helping replenish the blood supply, donors who come to give blood or platelets now through June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. Also, those who come to give May 24-28 will receive an exclusive Red Cross-branded T-shirt, while supplies last.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms, where it can be most critical. 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.

“Because it’s vitally important for hospitals to have type O blood available when every second counts, type O donors are urged to donate now and make a point to donate often.” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services.

The Red Cross collected approximately 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.

Donations needed now 

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Eligible donors with type O blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or Power Red donation, where available. During a Power Red donation, donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

Donation opportunities 

North Platte

Blood Donation Center, 1111 S. Cottonwood St.

Arthur

5/22/2019: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Arthur County Fairgrounds, 105 S Highway 61

Imperial

5/16/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Imperial City Gym, 740 Court St.

Wauneta

6/3/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Wauneta Community Building, 325 N. Tecumseh