After 4th of July holiday, American Red Cross declares blood emergency nationwide

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- After the 4th of July holiday, the American Red Cross has declared a blood emergency nationwide. Organizers with the Red Cross say this is in direct response to the holiday, where fewer people were donating and many blood drives were unsuccessful.

In years past, those in eastern Iowa have answered the call for help in thousands.

At the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Dubuque, staff members like Nicole Miller, Account Representative and member of Donor Resources Development, said their donation numbers in years past have stayed constant, but the need for donations continues to rise.

According to the most recent numbers, in Dubuque County, they received more than 1,700 units of blood at the center, and about the same in their mobile units.

But donated blood has a short lifespan- blood has a shelf life of a little over a month, but platelets are only good for five days.

Staff members say often times people do not realize how far a donation can go.

"When we collect your whole blood we get your red cells, your platelets and your plasma," Miller said. "And that goes back to our lab and it gets separated in those three bags. So each of those components of your blood could go to three different people."

Miller expained blood often goes wherever it is needed- mainly from our donation centers to around the Midwest, but could travel even farther for a variety of reasons.

"We supply blood to 2,600 hospitals around the country, and that blood is used for emergencies like car accidents, used for people that might have cancers such as leukemia, it's also used for burn victims so we can save three lives for one blood donation," Miller said.

Miller said they are holding a variety of blood drives across the area almost every day to try and combat the state of emergency.

If interested in giving blood, to find your closest donation center or blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org.

In the Dubuque area, there is a blood drive Tuesday, July 17 at the First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue from 1-6 p.m.

There is also another blood drive at Eagle Ridge in Galena, IL from 1-5 p.m. also on Tuesday, July 17.

In Dubuque specifically, there is a blood drive scheduled at Holy Ghost Catholic Church from 12-5 p.m.