🔴 Blood donors are needed in NJ to head off a serious summer supply shortage

🔴 The American Red Cross NJ needs all blood types and platelets

🔴 It is partnering with Warner Bros. Discovery with an exciting incentive for donors

Calling all New Jersey blood donors.

The American Red Cross continues to see a concerning trend - blood donations are being sent to hospitals faster than they are coming in, said Rosie Taravella, Regional CEO of The American Red Cross of New Jersey.

The organization collected 50,000 fewer blood donations than needed over the last two months, she said.

Why are blood donations low?

Low blood donations are typical during the summer months, especially in July because people are on vacation, their schedules are off-kilter, and they are preoccupied with other summer activities, Taravella said.

But, donors, especially those who have either never donated, or are infrequent donors are being asked to make an appointment to give blood and platelets to avoid a looming blood shortage.

How much blood is needed?

In New Jersey, about 600 units of blood must be collected daily on average for hospitals to have about five days worth of blood of all types on the shelves, Taravella said.

“Particularly, type O-negative is very important to hospitals because when emergency room personnel need to help somebody who’s been in a car accident or experiencing some sort of trauma, there’s no time to determine the patient’s blood type, so type O-negative can be used in that case,” she said.

Unfortunately, the American Red Cross is below the 600 unit daily level right now. Taravella also said hospitals are in desperate need of platelets.

Platelets have a very short shelf life. They must be used within five days of donation. She said hospitals like platelet donations because they can be used for patients who are fighting cancer, or are fighting traumatic injuries.

How can The American Red Cross NJ help head off a blood shortage?

The American Red Cross provides about 40% of the nation’s blood supply. So, there are many partners who like to help the organization promote blood and platelet donations and provide incentives.

One of those partners is Warner Bros. Discovery. The Red Cross is teaming up with them for the 35th anniversary of “Shark Week,” and the theatrical release of Meg 2: The Trench.

Anyone who donates blood and/or platelets through July 31, will receive an officially licensed Shark Week T-shirt, while supplies last.

“Donors will also be automatically entered for a chance to win a three-night New York getaway for two with a private shark dive adventure at Long Island Aquarium,” Taravella said.

All the details are available here.

How can people donate blood and platelets?

To schedule an appointment to donate, people can either visit the Red Cross website, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or download the Red Cross blood donor app.

Plug in your zip code and a list of donation sites from all across the state will be made available to you.

What should you know before you donate blood?

Taravella recommends donors drink plenty of water the day before and the morning of blood donations.

There is also an opportunity on the website to fill out Rapid Pass. She said donors will answer health questions, how they’re feeling, etc. This will speed up the donation process. When a person arrives at a blood donation site, simply hand in the Rapid Pass paper, and they’ll be good to go.

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