UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The American Red Cross is now inviting those who spent time in the U.K., Ireland, or France and have never tried to give blood due to concerns about mad cow disease to give blood and help save lives.

“People who spend time in the 80s and 90s who previously are not eligible to donate blood may actually now be eligible to donate due to a recent FDA guideline change. This change enables people who spend time in the UK, Ireland, and also France to donate blood for the first time,“ said Lisa Mistretta, manager of Donor Recruitment at the American Red Cross.

Blood shortage is not new. Worsened by the pandemic, people who intended to donate might end up feeling sick due to COVID. But for Red Cross and nationwide hospitals, it is important to maintain a stable blood inventory.

“The need is always constant for people for blood. It cannot be manufactured. So as more people we can find to donate blood the better. Right now people with O-type blood, so that’s O-positive and P-negative are especially needed right at the moment,” she said.

Every unit that a person gives can be up to three lives that you could be saving. In order to make the procedure more transparent and fun, Red Cross has developed a blood donor application for people to track their blood.

 “You can in many cases track where your blood ends up. So that actually happened to me not so long ago. And I see which hospital my donation went to. And that’s really a nice way to feel that you are making a difference. This is something that’s gonna be good for our local area because it just makes the donor pool a little bit bigger,” she said.

Book a time to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting http://RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).