BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Lifesouth Community Blood Centers are asking for donations because of a blood shortage in Alabama.
Leah Ratliff, District Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth, said, even though all blood types are needed, there is an emergency need for type O blood.
O Negative blood is called universal, meaning it can be used in almost all patients no matter their blood type. "When tragedy strikes, O negative is what they give you in hospitals if they don't have time to test your blood type," explained Ratliff.
This is not the first time this winter LifeSouth has been forced to issue an urgent call for donations.
"LifeSouth provides 85% of the blood used in the state; so, it's a constant need," Ratliff said. "This year has been harder compared to last year."
She blamed snow days and a bad flu season for a drop in donations.
"Our donor base has gone down because they have been out sick," explained Ratliff. "2018 has been rough for blood donations."
LifeSouth is currently asking all their donors to give blood. Ratliff said just come on by, no appointment needed.
LifeSouth's main location is on West Oxmoor Road in Birmingham. Anyone 17 or older, weighting at least 110 pounds and in good health can donate blood. 16-year-olds can donate with parental permission. Everyone is required to have a photo ID.
Ratliff said LifeSouth has six blood drives a day, seven days a week.
You can find the locations of their mobile blood drives by going to lifesouth.org.