Wintry weather blamed for widespread blood shortage

The Red Cross Missouri-Illinois chapter uses about 1500 units of blood per day.

A brutal winter season nationwide has left blood donation centers in short supply, even blood banks in Missouri.

During this season alone, the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois region has lost more than a thousand units of blood they normally have in stock.

Red Cross donor recruitment representative Craig Jackson said there's an emergency need for donations.

"I don't know if it covers February or from the storms in January we've lost around 50 blood drives, which results in about 1500 units of blood which could potentially help save the lives of 4500 people so it's quite an issue. And then there's several times that blood drives have come in short because people can't get out and about and things of that nature."

To put it in perspective, the entire region uses about that much each day.

Other factors have contributed to the shortage as well.

"This year it seems like the flu has been a lot worse so that has really put into the shortage of blood as well. The weather's been a little crazy. It seems like we always get snow but we collect about 20 percent of our blood from high schools and colleges and we had a week where a lot of high schools were canceled so therefore the blood drives get canceled...we have to cancel blood drives that are two weeks out because the schools calendars have changed and things like that," said Jackson.

All blood types are currently needed, especially the universal donor, O negative.

Jackson said it is safe to give blood up to 6 times per year, with 56 days between each donation.

"I'd love for you to donate six times but at least donate once or twice more than you normally do and I think that does a lot to help the blood supply," said Jackson.

You can find the nearest donation center or blood drive by going to and typing in your zip code.

Lake area residents have a chance to donate tomorrow, Tuesday, February 18 at Columbia College in Osage Beach from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.