The American Red Cross issued a statement Jan. 8 asking for blood and platelet donations of all blood types in response to a nationwide shortage.
The organization said severe winter weather has hurt its ability to collect donations, particularly types O negative and B negative. O negative is the universal blood type and is often used in emergency situations.
“Hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December,” the organization said in the statement. "More than 150 blood drives have already been canceled this year due to severe weather."
According to the statement, the Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
Red Cross spokesperson Maya Franklin said the Red Cross typically experiences a slump during the holiday season but that weather has been an especially difficult factor.