Blood shortage affects Iowans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Blood shortage affects Iowans

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Chilly weather and the recent flu problem has caused a big drop in blood donations.

That's why the American Red Cross is reaching out for help.

Fewer people donate blood around the holidays due to the weather and their busy schedules, but this year the American Red Cross says they're feeling the hit even more.

Fewer donors are creating a big problems for hospital patients around the nation and closer to home.

"We are on an appeal, and we're asking donors to come in and donate and pay it forward to a patient in need," American Red Cross Recruit Account Manager in the Waterloo area, Judi Faas said.

Faas said 28,000 fewer people donated in November and December in 2017.

"Blood is going out just as fast as it's coming into the blood banks. So, it is precarious, and I guess if people would just step up, and if five more people would just donate at every blood drive we have, it would really stem the shortage and fill up the blood banks," Faas said..

Faas said the chilly weather problem is two fold with fewer people heading out do donate and more trauma patients ending up in hospital emergency rooms due to the slick conditions. 

Faas reminds everyone that donating takes 8 to 10 minutes, and all blood types are needed.

"It's just a great feeling knowing you did something very freely. It didn't cost you anything, and you saved a life," Faas said.

The American Red Cross has even started reaching out to previous donors by phone and e-mail to come back in and donate blood.

She adds, the recent flu problem around the nation is also keeping people from donating.

The American Red Cross says they've had to cancel more than 150 blood drives this season due to the weather.

If you'd like to find the next blood drive near you, click here.

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