Philly hospitals report blood shortage amid flu season; Red Cross seeks donors

Mark Abrams
January 20, 2020 - 9:40 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania is begging for blood donations due to a shortage of blood supply at area hospitals.

Alana Mauger, communications manager for blood services, said the combination of bad weather and the flu have discouraged people from coming into its centers to donate blood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 13 million people have had the flu this season. Of those, 120,000 people have been hospitalized and 6,600 people have died.

“We have less than a three-day supply of Type O blood, which is really critical at area hospitals,” she said. “Ideally, we like to have at least a five-day supply and there is a shortage of all blood types, but we're very critical with Type O, specifically.”

Related: Flu season on track to be one of the worst in decades, as cases continue to rise

Type O blood is the most in-demand blood type and is used by hospitals for patients facing life-threatening conditions and emergencies, Mauger explained.

Donors can find the nearest blood drive near them by going online or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

You can also download the free Red Cross app or even schedule an appointment by asking Amazon's Alexa.