Watch CBS News

American Red Cross is in dire need of blood, platelet donations

The CDC anticipates a severe flu season this year
The CDC anticipates a severe flu season this year 02:03

BALTIMORE - The American Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors to give now in order to fight the potential impact of seasonal illnesses and a potentially severe flu season on the blood supply.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, according to the Red Cross.

Regional Executive Director Curt Luthye says that while the need for blood and blood platelets is constant, the supply is vulnerable to a potential shortage this winter.

"The CDC has recently come out indicating that with the flu and other seasonal illnesses and the threat of winter weather in many locations, that can actually hinder somebody from coming in," Luthye said. 

A rise in seasonal illnesses reduces the number of healthy donors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already reporting an early spike in flu cases in several states, and emergency departments at local hospitals are dealing with RSV on top of COVID cases. 

"We're asking the public to really think about this around this time of Thanksgiving," Luthye said. "Blood donations help car accident victims. They help parents with complicated child births, they help people who are going through cancer, and they help people who have sickle cell disease."

Dr. Mark Olszyk, from Carroll Hospital, says hospitals need 29,000 units every day across the country

Donors, especially those with Type O blood and those giving platelets can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks. 

"At any given moment we could see an upswing in our demand so it's important to get ahead of that curve because as I mentioned, there's only a certain shelf life for blood and it's needed throughout the year," Dr. Olszyk said.

There is no waiting period to donate blood or platelets after receiving a flu shot.

You can visit and enter your zip code to find a blood drive near you. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.