The American Red Cross said that it significantly needs type O negative blood.
Type O negative blood can be given to patients with any blood type. It is frequently used in emergency situations regardless that only less than 7 percent of the population in the U.S. has this blood type.
Ryan Corcoran, from the Carolinas Blood Services Region said that although all blood types are needed, donation of type O negative blood are crucial in emergency situations particularly when there is not enough time to determine the blood type of the patient. Type O negative blood cells can be transfused to almost anyone, which is why it is also called "universal."
"Type O negative donors are an important part of the Red Cross trauma team," said Corcoran.
Hospitals rely on frequent O negative donations to ensure availability for patients in need. The high demand for type O negative blood, however, requires frequent donation.
"Double red cell donations from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in maintaining blood supply levels," the American Red Cross wrote on its website.
The organization urged eligible donors to make a double red cell or whole blood donation to ensure sufficient supply. In a double red cell donation, an apheresis machine collects the red cells and most of the platelets and plasma are returned. Double red cell donations are about 30 minutes longer compared with a whole blood donation and allow donors to give two units of red cells.
The Red Cross said that those who would donate need to be at least 17 years old who are at least 100 pounds. They should also be in good health. Some sates also allow 16-year-olds to make a donation.
High school students and those below 18 years old, however, need to meet certain weight and height requirements to be green-lighted to donate blood. Interested donors should also have a blood donor card, or driver's license or at least two forms of identification.
Blood donation appointments can be done through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org website, or by calling the number 1-800-733-2767.