American Red Cross: Government shutdown and cold weather has lasting effects

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The American Red Cross has issued a blood emergency, and in many states it's too cold for people to help -- but the South can.

"It's very important that donors give blood now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout the winter and affect patients' care," said Ronnika McFalls from American Red Cross.

McFalls said the United States normally collects over 13,000 blood platelet donations, but this year they're far from reaching that number.

"Four percent of the Red Cross blood collectors are sponsored by the military, local, state and federal agencies," said Mcfalls. "When the hospitals don't have enough blood, a lot of times emergency surgeries will have to be postponed."

Another reason why they're lacking blood donations is that over the holidays a lot of people will travel, and others will want to stay inside to stay out of the cold. McFalls says a lot of people forget blood is still needed even when there are snow days.

"Even though we get a day off, blood shortages do not get a day off. Our patients do not get a day off, so it's so important that people donate," said McFalls.

So if the roads around you are clear, McFalls encourages everyone to get out and donate blood.

You can find the closest donation center or blood drive to you by going to their website.

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