While I've heard rumblings about our blood supply reaching critical levels, I really didn't stop and think about what exactly that means.

According to Barbara Cotton, Executive Director of the Southeastern Massachusetts American Red Cross, it could certainly mean some pretty important things to you or to people you love.

Cotton told the Michael and Maddie audience that she hasn't seen available blood supplies this low in at least 10 years.

"This is the worst blood crisis we've seen in over a decade," Cotton said.

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Needless to say, this is concerning considering all of the other challenges facing healthcare right now. We asked Cotton what this means for people here on the SouthCoast.

"What it means right now for most of our patients is that they are possibly needing to postpone their surgeries, especially if they are elective surgeries," she said. "It means that doctors are being put into a place where they have to make difficult decision about who needs a blood transfusion the most while others might have to wait for those blood products until they become available."

The American Red Cross is currently running a contest that is going to send someone to the Super Bowl next month. Simply give blood over the next seven days for your chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl including airfare, hotel and tickets to the game.

Leslie Poulin from First Citizens Federal Credit Union told us that helping to promote the critical need for blood is something that is a core value to the financial institution.

To find a list of local locations that will be conducting blood drives, visit our list of SouthCoast blood drives or check out redcrossblood.org. Cotton urges people not to get frustrated if the blood drives are full within the next couple of weeks.

"Please book ahead, the need is great," she said.

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