Those faithful San Franciscans who routinely give blood should expect to get a phone call from the American Red Cross, because it's desperate for your red fluids.
The first-aid organization says it has been suffering from an unprecedented shortage of blood, noting that blood supplies have dwindled so that they could provide blood to hospitals for only one day -- and that's dangerous in the face of a catastrophic event in the Bay Area. It's usual for donations to decrease over the summer, said Sara O'Brien, American Red Cross communications manager, but even she has never seen supply numbers this low so early in the year.
"We usually see these supply numbers around September, sometimes July, but I've never seen them this low in June," O'Brien told us.
The blood types that they're calling for include O-positive, O-negative, A-negative, and B-negative. O'Brien was quick to add that there is a great need for all blood types.
"No one knows that type is going to be needed until someone comes in from an accident," said O'Brien.
Summer is always a tough time for the blood hub as it typically relies on a substantial amount of donations from high school and college students through the school year. So really, it's no shock that those young blood donors forget amid summer vacation.
But you can't say the Red Cross isn't trying; it has been averaging as many as three blood drives per day, six days a week, around the Bay Area. And in July, the Red Cross will work with 12 interfaith groups, said O'Brien, including Latter-day Saints, Catholics, and Buddhists, to collect more blood.
If the thought of blood makes you squeamish, the Red Cross will soothe your stomach with a free pint of ice cream for every pint of blood you give until the end of the month.
For those who wish to help with the shortage, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800)-Red-Cross.
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