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Blood Supply is at Lowest Point in Six Years

This Wednesday, July 22, 2020, photo provided by C2N Diagnostics shows equipment in a lab that analyzes blood samples at the company's facility in the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis. C2N Diagnostics has started selling the first blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, a leap for the field that could make it much easier for people to learn whether they have dementia. It also raises concern about the accuracy and impact of such life-altering news. (Jerry Naunheim Jr./C2N Diagnostics via AP)

(Radio Iowa) There’s a major blood shortage in the United States. A quarter of the blood centers in the Midwest have just a day’s supply or even less on hand. Emily Holley is a spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Iowa.

“Our blood supply is at the lowest it has been this time of year in six years,” she says, “so it’s critical right now that folks give blood.” Many blood centers report they’re running critically low of O-negative blood. It’s the most common blood type used in emergencies when a patient’s blood type is unknown. Holley says more donations are also needed for platelets.

“Platelets often go to those battling cancer and other chronic illnesses,” she says. “It helps keep them healthy.” Platelets are the cells in blood that form clots and stop or prevent bleeding. Cancer patients often need platelet transfusions if their bone marrow cells aren’t producing enough platelets due to chemotherapy.

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