Red Cross Says It’s Difficult To Collect Blood During The Holidays

But the need is still constant.

Washington DC (KM) The Holidays are probably the busiest time of time of the year for many of us, and that makes it more difficult for the Red Cross to collect blood from regular  donors. That’s according to Ashley Henyan, Communications Director for the American Red Cross National Capital and Chesapeake Region Chapter . “People are traveling,. People are attending gatherings and holiday festivities. And they’re not really thinking about going to their local blood drive,” she says. “But the fact is that hospital patients are still going to need blood during the holidays. So everyone who is eligible to donate should make an appointment and give.”

But there are other reasons for the drop off in regular donors. “Some schools and colleges are closed where we tend to host a lot our blood drives. Also seasonal illness can impact those who are eligible as well. So we want to make sure everybody who comes out to donate blood is feeling healthy and well that day,” says Henyan.

She says hospitals need blood for their patients, some of whom are accident victims. But the blood donated by the Red Cross has a short shelf life, and it’s important to keep this blood coming. “Whole blood lasts for 42 days. So it actually goes bad just like the milk in your refrigerator after 42 days,” says Henyan. “And then platelets which are often used to help treat cancer patients going into complicated treatments for their cancer procedures, those platelets only have a shelf life of five days.:”

Henyan says all blood types are needed. “We know that O-Negative is the universal type that can be transfused to anyone. And we also know O-Positive is the most transfused blood,” she says.

Those with the rare blood types of  A, B and AB are also welcome, Henyan says.

Anyone who wants to donate blood can call 1-800–RED–CROSS and make an appointment. They can also go on line to

By Kevin McManus