LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The nation’s largest blood supplier reports its blood supply is down 50% since the start of the summer creating an emergency shortage in Nevada and across the U.S.

Vitalant wants to remind possible blood donors that the FDA recently removed some requirements for blood donation which will make it easier for more people to donate. Vitalant, a non-profit, is urging people who can donate blood to do so before as soon as possible, especially with Labor Day a few weeks away.

The shortage is for blood type O which is the type most frequently used for transfusions.

“Hospitals need people to donate during these critical weeks,” said Vitalant Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Dr. Ralph Vassallo. “Patient blood needs don’t conform to a predictable schedule. Several patients may experience emergencies, while a planned surgery could suddenly require dozens of units of blood for one patient. Hospitals must have blood available to take care of everyone.”

The FDA recently updated its guidance on blood donations. Previously, donors were unable to donate if they had traveled to the United Kingdom, Ireland, or France due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also known as mad cow disease.

You can click this link to see the revised requirements and book an appointment.