Stocks of two major types of blood are running low because of the bad weather, concerned health officials have warned.
The NHS fears there won’t be enough B negative and O negative blood to last this Christmas.
Bosses are now urging people to donate their blood – despite thousands having already been put off due to the cold temperatures.
The start of the flu season, which has seen a 39 per cent jump in cases in the past week, is also to blame for the lack of blood.
Jon Latham, of the NHS Blood and Transplant, revealed anyone with either blood type will be able to walk in and donate at any centre.
The NHS fears there won’t be enough B negative and O negative blood to last this Christmas
He said: ‘The recent poor weather has resulted in us having less O negative and B negative blood than is required for patients going into Christmas.’
Urgent appeals for blood
The new plea by the NHSBT’s is the latest in a long-line of urgent appeals for more blood, including in the aftermath of the Manchester suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in May, which killed 22 people and left around 500 injured.
Bosses asked for more black people to volunteer to give their blood in June due to a growing shortage of a special subtype of blood.
It claimed 40,000 more black donors were needed to meet growing demand for Ro blood – with demand spiking by 75 per cent in three years.
What are blood types?
Blood groups are differentiated by the combination of sugars and proteins that coat someone’s red blood cells.
Based on this, someone can be classified into one of four main groups: A, B, AB and O – which is the most common type in Britain.
THE DANGERS OF YOUR BLOOD TYPE
People with A, B or AB blood types are slightly more likely to have a heart attack, Dutch scientists warned in May.
They are believed to have higher levels of a clotting protein – which can stop blood from reaching the vital organ.
The findings were deemed worrying, considering people are unable to do anything about their blood group as it is based purely on genetics.
But University Medical Center in Groningen experts said giving up smoking and eating healthier are still the best ways to reduce the risk of a deadly heart attack.
Around 44 per cent of Britons are type O, 42 per cent are type A, 10 per cent type B and 4 per cent AB, figures show.
Blood donations: The facts
About 400,000 people receive a transfusion of red blood cells in Britain each year from an anonymous donor.
Anyone between the ages of 17 and 66 can give blood, as long as they are fit and healthy, according to the NHSBT.
Men, who reproduce red blood cells quicker, can donate every 12 weeks. However, women have to wait four weeks longer.
The health service requires a constant supply of all types of blood as red blood cells have an average lifespan of just 35 days.
The gender of who donated the blood is never revealed – despite some evidence suggesting that men can suffer severe effects from women’s blood.
Scientists warned earlier this year that men who receive transfusions from mothers are at risk of an early death.
However, the Dutch study of 31,000 people, published in the JAMA, was deemed ‘provocative’ and denied by some experts.