Urgent call for O and A blood donors as cold and flu season hits

Urgent call for O and A blood donors as cold and flu season hits

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is urging 8,500 people with O and A blood groups to donate as the cold and flu season, combined with ongoing COVID-19 cases, has created a perfect storm for a potential blood donor shortage.

Around 2000 donors a week are cancelling and rescheduling appointments due to cold and flu symptoms, and it is expected to get worse in the coming weeks.

Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Experience, Cath Stone said Lifeblood data shows that higher numbers of people are cancelling or rescheduling their donations due to cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms this year compared to last year.

“We are expecting those cancellations to increase over the coming weeks so are asking people with O and A blood types to book a donation. More than 80 per cent of the population has an O or A blood type, meaning these are the types most needed by patients.

“O Negative, the universal blood type, is found in fewer than seven per cent of the population, making it one of the rarer blood types, however its versatility means it makes up 16 per cent of the blood ordered by hospitals.

“It is used to treat patients when their blood type is unknown. It’s often stocked in ambulances and rescue helicopters to be used to treat trauma patients who can require huge quantities of blood in a short amount of time.”

To combat the seasonal drop in donors, Lifeblood has partnered with emergency services across the country to launch a blood drive to help secure blood stocks over the winter months.

“Emergency Service workers are used to coming to the rescue in times of need and emergencies, and at this time of year they will also help save lives by donating blood and plasma,” Cath said.

Make an appointment to donate this winter by calling 13 14 95, visiting lifeblood.com.au or the Donate Blood app.