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Weather, flu causes drop in blood and platelet donations

American Red Cross in critical need of donors
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Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 17:40:23-05

The American Red Cross is blaming recent winter weather and seasonal flu for a critical shortage of blood and platelet donations.

The organization had to canceled more than 550 blood drives since the beginning of the month because of the weather.

Overall, turnout for blood drives has been way down due to the bitter cold and widespread flu, according to the Red Cross.

"Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in," said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. "Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community as well as areas where donors are unable to give due to inclement weather."

There are several blood donations opportunities in Maryland through Feb. 15.

Visit the American Red Cross website for a full list of dates, times and locations, as well as to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.