The American Red Cross is facing a looming shortage of the blood types most needed by patients and is calling on eligible donors with O negative, B negative and A negative blood to give now to prevent an emergency situation. Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Blood Drives are being held in Tuscaloosa today at Alabama Power and University Mall, Thursday at the Scotts Company, and the week of August 24, 2015 at the University of Alabama. For more details on these blood drives, click HERE.

Overall blood donations in the Red Cross Alabama Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region have been approximately 1,211 fewer per month in June and July this year than the previous 10 months of the year. When demand for the most needed types begins to outpace donations, the Red Cross alerts donors to help restock the shelves.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types B negative and A negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients. Eligible donors are encouraged to donate double red cells – a process where two units of red cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor – where available.

“Summer blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be prevented when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Nick Gehrig, senior communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Many donors have already given this summer. We’re now asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who are eligible again, to make an appointment to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients.”