By ThriveAP Intern Olivia DeFilippo

The American Red Cross is committed to keeping the United States safe and healthy. This past summer, I was honored to be a “blood ambassador” volunteer in Massachusetts where I helped to manage local blood drives. If you were not already aware, on August 1, 2014, the American Red Cross released a statement indicating a serious blood shortage and dire need for O negative, A negative, and B negative blood donations.

Blood Donor by the American Red Cross

To combat this severe shortage, the American Red Cross created a “blood donor” app helping willing participants locate local blood drives and donation centers quickly and easily. Users of the app can even schedule or reschedule appointments through this incredible new program. The app alerts users when a specific blood type is needed in their area and the location where it is needed. One you have donated blood to the American Red Cross, you can claim rewards and cool prizes from participating area retailers. If you have never given blood previously, or even if you make it a point to donate regularly, you should consider downloading this free app as it is designed to make your blood donation experience simple and more pleasant.

First Aid by the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has come out with some other handy apps to help educate the public. One of my favorites is the “First Aid” app. Being a gymnastics coach and working with young children for the majority of my summer break, it was important the my colleagues and I understood the basics of first aid.

The First Aid app provides step-by-step instructions, available in both Spanish and English, on topics including but not limited to: surviving severe winter weather, asthma attacks, heat stroke, seizures, insect and snake bites, burns, and choking. There are even videos and animations included to help users who find themselves confused by the written instructions. Users may also educate themselves ahead of an emergency by taking interactive quizzes earning badges as they master the material. In the case of an emergency, the app even offers integrated 911 calls.

The American Red Cross has many helpful resources that educate the public. In addition to the two apps I have mentioned, I also recommend downloading their “Wildfire”, “Pet First Aid”, “Tornado”, “Flood”, “Shelter Finder”, and “Swim” apps.

As a nurse practitioner, you can help the American Red Cross by donating blood today. Encourage your patients to do the same. It is critical that we increase our available blood supply. Remember to use the “Blood Donor” app to find the donation location nearest to you. And, while you are on the app you can also donate $10 to the American Red Cross by simply texting ‘red cross’  to 90999.


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