Importance of the Blood Supply
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.
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Facts About Blood Needs
- Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and or platelets.
- Approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U. S.
- Nearly 5,000 units of platelets and 6.500 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.
- Nearly 16 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
- Sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.
- The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 units.
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.
- Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
- One donation can help save more than one life.
- According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.8 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
“To know that my blood, O negative blood, is literally the doctors’ and emergency rooms’ first line of defense – it’s very important for me to donate, and donate on a regular basis.”
Ben C., type O negative donor
Blood Supply Statistics
The Red Cross provides about 40% of our nation’s blood and blood components, all from generous volunteer donors. But supply can’t always meet demand because only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly. Each new donor helps us meet patient needs.
- Each year, an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood.
- 13.6 million units of whole blood and red blood cells are collected in the U.S. in a year.
- About 45% of people in the U.S. have Group O (positive or negative) blood; the proportion is higher among Hispanics (57%) and African Americans (51%).
- Type O negative red cells can be given to patients of all blood types. Because only 7% of people in the U.S. are type O negative, it’s always in great demand and often in short supply.
- Type AB plasma can be transfused to patients of all blood types. Since only 4% of people in the U.S. have type AB blood, this plasma is usually in short supply.
- Red blood cells must be used within 42 days (or less).
- Platelets must be used within just 5 days.