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Climate Disasters Are Creating a Blood Supply Shortage

The organization says the nation's blood supply has dropped to critically low levels, and blood donors of all types are needed, especially type O and platelet donors.

On September 11, the American Red Cross announced that the United States is currently experiencing a blood supply shortage. The organization says that the national blood supply has fallen nearly 25% since early August, and hospital distributions are outpacing the number of blood donations.

The organization claims 700 units of blood were not collected due to Hurricane Idalia, and the summer travel season resulted in low donor turnout in August. This contributed to a 30,000-donation shortfall in that month alone.

The Red Cross says they are currently monitoring Hurricane Lee, which could also impact blood donations. In the past, hurricanes have resulted in blood drive cancellations and low donor turnout.

The American Red Cross supplies approximately 40% of the nation's blood, and the current blood shortage could impact emergency medical care and people who need blood transfusions regularly due to health conditions, including sickle cell disease and cancer.

Due to previous blood supply shortages, the FDA recently loosened its blood donation deferral policy and expanded blood donor eligibility to include more gay and bisexual men. Removing barriers caused by the deferral policy is something the Red Cross has advocated for years.

"For so many patients living with urgent medical care needs, crises don't stop with natural disasters," explained Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross.

"The need for blood is constant," Young adds. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood — an often invisible emergency that the rest of the world doesn't see behind closed hospital doors. Now, that urgency has only heightened."

Because of the current blood supply shortage, the Red Cross has an urgent need for donors of all blood types and an emergency need for platelet and type O donors.

The Red Cross are urging all potential donors to make an appointment to donate blood by visiting, using the Red Cross Blood App, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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