Red Cross faces blood shortage

January 12, 2018 04:35 PM

(NBC News) The American Red Cross says the holidays, an active flu season and the bitter cold snap have all lead to a critical shortage of donated blood.

"We have had so many winter storms just since January 1 that we've had to cancel 200 blood drives," says the Red Cross' Suzy DeFrancis.

Donated blood is used to help accident victims and people in surgery, especially emergency trauma situations.

Donations are also used for patients receiving treatment for leukemia and other cancers, as well as sickle cell disease.

"Blood can't be stockpiled. It has to be there right at the time it's needed, and that's why it's so urgently needed right now," DeFrancis notes.

All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, which is universal and can be used for anyone. 

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