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Canadian Blood Services says it's short on platelets in Atlantic Canada. (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud )

The Atlantic region of Canadian Blood Services is asking for blood and platelet donations this Christmas season.

Both Christmas and New Years fall on weekends, which means blood banks will only be open for three days during the week of December 26.

Michelle Thibodeau-Coates, with Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada, said currently the main concern of blood banks is a platelet shortage.

Platelets are one of the components required to make blood clots. Patients with prolonged bleeding associated with some diseases need large quantities of platelets as part of their treatment.

"Of course this year, [people] tend to be sort of distracted with the holidays," Thibodeau-Coates said.

"The big thing for us to remember is the need is constant, no matter what we always need to have blood products, there are people in the hospitals who need those products."

Platelets have a five-day expiry date. According to Canadian Blood Services, when giving a platelets donation, platelets are separated from the blood and a certain volume of plasma is withdrawn, which takes about two hours.

Thibodeau-Coates said that is why it's important to book an appointment to donate blood between Christmas and New Years.

Thibodeau-Coates said if the Maritime blood banks don't receive enough donations they can tap into the national supply, but she said it's better if they gather blood from local donors.

Canadian Blood Services need 2,820 donations in Atlantic Canada before the end of the year.