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Flu season may impact Red Cross blood supply

Healthy donors needed to give now

Montana Red Cross

GREAT FALLS — The American Red Cross urges blood donors to give now and help fight the potential impact of seasonal illnesses and a potentially severe flu season on the blood supply.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts a serious spread of flu this year and is already reporting an early spike in cases in several states. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays.

Paired with busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses may make it harder to collect the blood hospital patients require this winter. Donors — especially those with type-O blood and those giving platelets — can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks.

There is no waiting period to donate blood after receiving a flu shot. Schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Learn more about flu safety and prevention at

As a thank-you, the Red Cross is offering several opportunities to donors this month:

• All who come to give Nov. 1-22 will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice. Details are available at

• Those who come to give over the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 23-27, will get a Red Cross knit beanie, while supplies last.

• All who come out to help Nov. 28-Dec. 15 will receive a $10 Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon. Details are available at .

Upcoming area blood donation opportunities Nov. 16-30 are:

Monday, Nov. 14, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Havre Community, St. Jude Thaddeus Parish Center, 440 Seventh Ave., Havre

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Northern Montana Hospital Main Conference Room, 30 13th St. West, Havre

Tuesday, Nov. 15, noon to 6 p.m., Blaine County Fairgrounds Commercial Building.

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Bullhook Community Health Center, 521 Fourth St., Havre

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Montana State University Northern Student Union Building, SUB Ballroom, Havre

Thursday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Triangle Communications, 2121 U.S. Highway 2 N.W.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states, 16 with parental consent where allowed by state law, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at , or use the Blood Donor App.


Amplify your impact — volunteer! 

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is to become a volunteer blood donor ambassador at Red Cross blood drives. Blood donor ambassadors help greet, check-in and thank blood donors to ensure they have a positive donation experience. 

Volunteers can also serve as transportation specialists, playing a vital role in ensuring lifesaving blood products are delivered to nearby hospitals. For more information and to apply for either position, contact [email protected] or visit

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, people can visit or, or visit Twitter at @RedCross.


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