Red Cross in 'urgent' need for blood - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Red Cross in 'urgent' need for blood

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

There's a major shortage right now of a product in Arkansas that is used daily to save lives.

Arkansas' chapter of the American Red Cross reports it needs blood in a context it rarely uses, and that's "urgently."

There's no doubt the American Red Cross is always looking for donors to contribute blood to the non-profit group to help others, but believe it or not this blood has a shelf.

The time is now ticking on this organization running low of an essential need.

"We're very careful when we issue appeals like we did earlier in the summer, when we use messaging, when we label it as an urgent need. We're careful about that," said Marci Manley with the American Red Cross of Arkansas.

In a time like this though, urgent is the word that was used by Manley. She told Channel 7 there remains a large gap between donations and expectations of platelets, blood types O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.

"Throughout the summer and into the Labor Day holiday is always difficult for us, donations tend to go down because people are busy, they have lives and we understand that," Manley added.

With donations on the decline, another factor is playing a large role in the availability of blood because like much of the food we shop for, blood has its own shelf life.

"Well, a) the demand is really high. Across the country on average 44,000 pints of blood are needed every day. Aside from that we can't just freeze it and keep it in a cooler in the back because blood has a shelf life of 42 days. Platelets, that window is even shorter at five days," Manley said.

It's suggested you're able to give blood once every eight weeks.

Blood drives continue to happen daily around the state, if you'd like to help out with this shortage you can visit www.redcrossblood.org/greaterozarks.