Relentless winter weather across northern U.S. prompts urgent call for blood donors


Blood donors are strongly encouraged to give in the coming days to help build up the blood supply as winter weather systems and cold and flu season continue to severely impact donations.

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Vitalant strives to keep a four-day supply of all blood types ready for nearly 1,000 hospitals across the country. Winter weather's effects on blood donation continue to compound across many parts of our 28-state blood collection network. 

Here is a snapshot of some of the areas hardest hit just this week:

North and South Dakota: Down 480 donations due to weather-related blood drive cancellations and donation center closures

Northern California: Severe snow and rain earlier in the week closed three donation centers, preventing more than 100 estimated blood donations

New Jersey: Some 200 donations could not be collected after Tuesday's snow canceled three blood drives and forced an early closure of one donation center

Montana: Down more than 100 donations after extreme weather caused blood drive cancellations and donation center closures

Washington state: Heavy snowfall and high winds combined to keep an estimated 80 donors from giving

The need for patients is constant for both routine and emergency treatments and can even rise due to weather-related accidents.

If the weather's better where you live, please consider getting out and donating. All blood types are needed. Platelets and type O blood donations are most critical. Platelets have only a five-day shelf life. O-negative blood is used in an emergency when there is no time to test a patient's blood type. O-positive blood is the most common blood type and can by used by more than 80 percent of hospital patients.

Maintaining a safe and ready supply at all times is so crucial. It takes up to 2.5 days for a blood donation to be typed, tested, processed and labeled before it can reach a patient. 

Find a convenient location to donate, make an appointment or walk in.