HARBURG, GERMANY - JUNE 08: A woman gets prepared to donate blood at the blood donation service Hamburg on June 8, 2011 in Harburg, Germany. Hospitals and the Red Cross in northern Germany have appealed to the public for blood donations as a result of the current outbreak of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria. With at least 2,200 people afflicted by the infection, and approximately 500 suffering from the HUS complication from EHEC that attacks the kidneys, hospitals have seen an explosive growth in their need for donated blood plasma. The EHEC outbreak has thus far killed at least 22 people in Europe's deadliest recorded outbreak of E. coli. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.

The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. During this period, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.

“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “When donations decline – as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up – lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed.”

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand, well below the ideal five-day supply needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs. Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.

“We hope people can resolve to save lives now – when there is an emergency need – as well as throughout the year,” added Numark.

All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urged to make an appointment to give in the coming days to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.

Winter weather poses risk to blood supply

With several weeks of winter ahead, severe winter weather poses an additional threat to an already low blood supply. Snow, ice and extreme temperatures last January and February forced hundreds of blood drive cancellations, causing about 23,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. In December, winter weather resulted in nearly twice the number of uncollected blood and platelet donations as December 2017.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 14-Feb. 15

Barton

Lamar

2/11/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., First Baptist Church, 1301 E 6th Street

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Camden

Osage Beach

1/22/2019: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Culver’s Restaurant, 5785 U.S. 54

1/23/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lowe’s Osage Beach, 950 MO-42

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Cedar

Stockton

2/6/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Agape Boarding School, 12998 E 1400 Road

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Dade

Lockwood

2/4/2019: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Legion, 710 Locust

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Greene

Springfield

1/14/2019: 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center, 313 E. Battlefield, Ste B

1/15/2019: 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/18/2019: 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/19/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/20/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/21/2019: 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/22/2019: 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/24/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Midwest Technical Institute, 3600 South Glenstone Avenue

1/25/2019: 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/25/2019: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., 3M Company, 3211 E Chestnut Expressway

1/26/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/27/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/28/2019: 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

1/29/2019: 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/1/2019: 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center,

2/2/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/3/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/4/2019: 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/5/2019: 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/8/2019: 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/9/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/10/2019: 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/11/2019: 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/12/2019: 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

2/15/2019: 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Springfield Blood Donation Center

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Howell

West Plains

2/6/2019: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc, 1 McDaniel St

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Laclede

Lebanon

1/21/2019: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lebanon First Assembly of God, 2601 W. Elm St

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Lawrence

Aurora

1/31/2019: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., Community National Bank, 444 S. Rinker

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Newton

Neosho

1/21/2019: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Lampo Community Center, 500 E. Spring St.

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Ozark

Gainesville

2/6/2019: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., First Baptist Church, The First Baptist Church, 119 2nd St.

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Stone

Kimberling City

1/22/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., First Christian Church, 5 Hilltop Drive

1/30/2019: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Our Lady Of The Cove Catholic Church, 20 Kimberling Blvd.

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Taney

Branson

1/18/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Walmart, 1101 Branson Hills Parkway

1/25/2019: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Our Lady Of The Lake Catholic Church, 202 Vaughn Drive

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Vernon

Deerfield

2/8/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Archer Daniels Midland-Front office admin Bldg., 17700 South Highway T

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Webster

Marshfield

1/30/2019: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., Orscheln Farm and Home, 1331 Spur Dr

2/7/2019: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Webco Manor, 1687 W. Washington

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Wright

Mountain Grove

2/15/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Missouri State University Mountain Grove Shannon Hall, 401 E. 17th St