SOURCE: American Red Cross, news release, June 29, 2015
WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans make plans for the Fourth of July holiday, and the American Red Cross is hoping many of them will also consider donating blood or platelets.
The organization estimated that more than 40 percent of its donors are traveling either before or after Independence Day, which could result in a summer shortage of blood and blood products. Making matters worse, many organizations put off blood drives while people are on vacation.
So if donors set aside a time to donate now, a potential shortfall can be avoided, the Red Cross said.
"Adding blood or platelet donation to a vacation to-do list can mean so much to patients and their families," said Donna Morrissey, director of national partnerships, American Red Cross Biomedical Services, in a news release from the organization. "It's a simple act, taking as little as an hour, but can touch many lives."
Blood of all types is needed, but donors who are Type O-negative, Type A-negative and Type B-negative are in particular demand. Platelet donors are also urged to schedule an appointment.
People who donate on July 2 through July 6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered baseball cap, while supplies last. You can make an appointment to donate or get more information by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides more on blood transfusions and donations.