SPOKANE, Wash. – The Inland Northwest Blood Center said Monday they are fighting a critical platelet shortage and are asking donors to help patients in our area as well as those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

INBC said current platelet inventories are 50 percent below normal levels – which equals out to about a half days’ worth – and said the low levels are being felt across the country.

Platelets, or tiny blood cells, help control bleeding, INBC said. They are used in treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, or a transplant. INBC said platelet donation takes about two hours, and you can donate every seven days.

To be eligible, you must be at least 16-years-old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. For more information, or if you have more questions, go to the INBC website.