Impact of allergies on the blood supply

April 6, 2012

The American Red Cross saw an 8 percent decline in blood donations in March 2012 compared to March 2011. While a number of factors could be contributing to the decline, blood donors in some parts of the country have indicated to our recruitment teams that allergies are impacting their ability to donate.


Currently, indicates that more than three-quarters of the U.S. is experiencing medium-to-high pollen counts. While it’s hard to quantify how many, some donors have expressed uncertainty about whether they are suffering from allergies versus a cold. Someone who is not feeling well on the day of donation due to a cold or allergies will be asked to return when they are feeling better.


The Red Cross provides approximately 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, and the need for blood is constant. Each year, the Red Cross collects approximately 6.1 million units of blood from about 3.6 million volunteer blood donors. From these donations, the Red Cross distributes around 9 million blood products each year, including 6 million red cells, to patients at approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers. The American Red Cross needs to collect 22,000 units of blood each weekday to meet patient needs. In addition, we must collect about 15,000 units each weekend.


As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to meet the demand for blood and help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed.


To schedule an appointment to donate, click here, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).