A blood service provider is reaching out to people in the Bay Area to ask for blood donations during the heart of winter.
Vitalant, which has five donation centers in the region including two in San Francisco, said there's a critical need for platelets and type-O blood donations as of early Wednesday morning, according to spokesman Kevin Adler.
According to Adler, donations in late December and early January were down 47 percent to those made in the first two weeks of December. Adler said doctors in hospitals reach for type-O blood in emergency situations until a patient is stabilized.
"We typically see a drop in donations around this time of the year because people are not only recovering from the holidays, many are also suffering from the flu and other illnesses," said Fred McFadden, a regional director for Vitalant.
Vitalant requires blood donors to at least be 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. Those who are minors need permission from a parent or guardian and additional height and weight requirements apply to anyone under the age of 22.
Anyone who wants to donate blood can visit vitalant.org or call (877) 258-4825 to setup an appointment.
Vitalant, formerly Blood Centers of the Pacific, has partnered with Bay Area hospitals since 1941.