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Arkansas: Red Cross Needs Your Help

Summer is when fewer people take time to donate blood and this year there's a critical shortage. (US State Department)
Summer is when fewer people take time to donate blood and this year there's a critical shortage. (US State Department)
July 7, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansans are being asked to roll up their sleeves and donate blood because there's a critical shortage of it across the state and nation.

The American Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Region is made up of the whole state of Arkansas, plus southwest Missouri and Memphis, Tenn.

The region's blood donations dropped in both June and July.

The situation is even worse in other parts of the country and Red Cross spokesman Rick Roseneck says the Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal for both blood and platelet donations.

"Blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than the donations are coming in,” he points out. “Blood donations through the Red Cross have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months."

All blood types are currently needed – especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative – in order to meet patient demand this summer.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types B negative and A negative can be transfused to Rh positive or Rh negative patients.

Roseneck says low donations are common this time of year when schools and businesses are less likely to have blood drives.

"The week immediately before and after the Fourth of July are huge vacation weeks where people take off so there's nearly 650 fewer blood drives that are held the week of July Fourth," he points out.

Platelets have to be transfused within five days of donation – making the need constant – and are used to help cancer patients, surgical patients and bone-marrow recipients.

Donors can visit a donation center or a blood drive to make a donation.

You also can make an appointment or find a donation center at, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - AR