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Red Cross appeals for blood donors after winter storms

WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - The American Red Cross said that recent winter storms have forced thousands of donors to cancel giving blood and its January supply had fallen to the lowest in a decade.

"With more winter weather and a possible (east) coastal storm predicted, the Red Cross is urging all eligible blood donors to help boost its blood supply back up to sufficient levels," the Red Cross said.

It said that more than 14,000 blood donations had been canceled by the winter storms.

All blood types are needed, especially O negative. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health are eligible.

Every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion, the Red Cross said. Blood is perishable and has no substitute. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, it said.

(Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Jerry Norton)